Bandhavgarh- Will it remain tiger capital?

“…. abhi toh shyam aani baki hai, raat bhi raazi”

(… the sun is yet to set, darkness is ready to engulf)

It has been a long time that I have written a blog. I was too tied up with activities of corporate world. My calling of wild has come and I’m on my way to Bandhavgarh to meet spirits of wild. Excitement is high because I am going to Bandhavgarh after big gap of almost 18 months.

I am writing this blog as my train runs late by almost 5 hours. The train took 3 hours just to traverse the city of Mumbai and for Mumbaikar that’s frustrating especially for one who is in hurry to reach his destination. The only way for me to overcome this frustration is by pouring my heart out in form of words. So let me talk about my excitement.

The main reason for the high level of excitement is that I am hoping to shoot tiger cubs and hoping to see few dominant males who are fighting to claim own territories. In my previous attempt I failed miserably. It was Corbett winters and cubs were elusive. 8 safaris and no luck. Fingers crossed this time.

Anyways coming back to current Bandhavgarh tour I have another reason to be excited. I will be also having gala time with friends who are coming from Delhi to join me at Bandhavgarh. For them it’s first time in jungle. If you have read one of my previous blogs you must be knowing by now that I have always enjoyed company of first timers. After all they bring tiger luck along. 😁

Okay so let us now look at who is causing this excitement:

Mangu (Male) – He has crossed his prime age. He was dominating force in tala zone. Missing from action for sometime now. Hopefully he returns back when I’m around. After all dominant males have everything to loose, females-food-territory. Hence they are habituated to make a comeback unless defeated by younger blood.

Mr X (Male) – Entering his prime age he had already sired cubs with females in Maghadi zone like late Jr Kankatti. With genes of Charger and Bamera, seeing him would be gift from nature.

Chakardhara (Male) – New entrant has already become game changer in Tala zone.

Mahaman (Male) – Dominant male of Maghadi. As elusive as shadow at night. Getting his glimpse would be a blessing.

Spotty (female) – Lost all four cubs sired with Mangu. Currently she can be traced in Maghadi zone.

Solo (female) 4 cubs 8 to 9 months old. Supposedly had a severe fight with Mr.X while protecting cubs. She keeps switching along the edges of tala amd maghadi zone. Recently sighted in Tala zone.

Dotty (female) 3 cubs almost a year old. Can be traced in Tala zone but seen recently in Maghadi zone where her cubs were playing with a spotted deer kill.

Pathia (female) with 3-4 cubs in Maghadi zone. Exact number of cubs are unknown to me.

Khitauli zone is uncharted territory for me. In khitauli it is reported that few tigress like tara, darraha have also been spotted with cubs. Not mention huge males in area like Bheem,Jobhi and young one’s like Mahaman male cub.

While I try my luck to photograph cubs, I sincerely hope & wish that these young spirits of wild survive to adulthood. The sun never sets on Bandhavgarh. They stay proteceted from human activities so that dark side of human doesn’t touch them. Only then can we say Bandhavgarh will remain the “Tiger Capital of India”

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