Ranthambore tiger strides 220km to MP
Apr 25, 2013, 05.57AM IST TNN[ Anindo Dey & P Naveen ]
This is the farthest any big cat from the national park is recorded to have travelled. The journey has been documented by Ranthambhore’s deputy conservator of forest YK Sahu, field biologist Dharmendra Khandal (of tiger watch), and Ayan Sadhu, a junior research fellow at Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.
On March 14, the three-year-old tiger was found in Seoda range of Datia territorial forest division, a forest patch 55km in length and 11-12km wide. Identified as a male cub of tigress T-26, the tiger was one of three that went missing from Ranthambore. The other two were traced to Kuno wildlife sanctuary, which is preparing to host lions from Gir in Gujarat.
A team from Ranthambore visited Datia district last week. It installed camera traps to check the tiger’s movements. The big cat finally showed up in camera trap pictures.
“Our team followed the tiger all the way to MP. We are happy that it’s safe there and the officers were very cooperative. We cannot stop dispersal, only concern is its safety,” said Y K Sahu, district forest officer Ranthambore.
The longest recorded distance travelled by a tiger is 280km (as the crow flies), when another young male wandered from Bandipur to Shikaripur in Karnataka in 2011.
According to a report by Sahu and others, “By the end of January 2013, the sub-adult cubs of tigress T-26, about two years old, began to disperse from their mother. On January 23 and 24 night, villagers of Khandar and Ganeshnagar reported movement of tigers,” the report said.
By January 25, pugmarks were again seen along Banas river going towards Bichpuri. The marks led up to Bheonji, near Bichpuri village, 12km from Dhamida ghata and then 4km away near Gopaz Ghati leading to the neighbouring Kailadevi Sanctuary.
After that, the tiger crossed Chambal river and entered the forests of Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh. It was tracked by forest officials of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Between January 28 and February 9, the tiger had travelled 70 km from its natal place in Ranthambore. A cow was found mauled to death near Birpur territorial range in MP, confirming the predator’s presence.
The animal went unnoticed for a long time. But in the first week of March 2013, the forest division of Datia in Madhya Pradesh reported movement of a tiger in Seoda range.
“Since there was no reported tiger presence in this area, a team was sent from Ranthambore to assist the Datia forest staff. On March 27, the killing of a wild boar alerted local staffers who installed cameras and managed to get pictures which matched with those of T26’s male cub,” the report notes.
“We concluded that the tiger roaming in the Seoda range is one of the male sub-adults from the present litter of T26,” says Dharmendra Khandal.
There were no tiger sightings in Datia till one was shot dead by poachers in 1998. Prior to that one was hunted ‘legally’ by a royal family member in 1960, said sources.
“We are very concerned about the tiger’s safety. Additional patrolling is being done to keep tab on its movements,” said chief conservator of forest (Gwalior circle) SP Rayal.