The Tigers of Kabini

Tiger, the biggest carnivore from the cat family is perhaps the most ferocious predator on earth that has always attracted the undivided attention of human beings. The muscular animal is a symbol of strength and power and therefore has often been compared with mentally and physically strong individuals. Today, with the steep declination in the natural habitats, there are very few parts of the world that can boast of the presence of the wild cat and hence draw wildlife enthusiasts in multiples. India is one of the remaining few countries along with Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Siberia where Tigers can be seen in their natural surroundings. Numerous tours make their way every year to the National Parks in the dry seasons from October to May for sighting and capturing the most enigmatic beast in their lenses.

In India, Ranthambore ( Rajasthan), Bhadavgarh( Madhya Pradesh), Kanha( Madhya Pradesh), Tadoba( Maharashtra), Nagarhole( Karnataka), Bandipur(Karnataka), and Jim Corbett ( Uttar Pradesh) have consistently inspired wild safaris over past few years. These parks provide natural dwellings to wild animals and birds in the form of dense forests, lakes, and landscapes along with a protected environment for hunting and mating.

I, being one big promoter of wildlife have been smitten with Kabini wildlife sanctuary for the past some years and with each passing year and experience, my curiosity and adulation for the inhabitants have only increased manifold. Kabini is an important part of Nagarhole National Park, on the banks of the Kabini river housing many of the few remaining species on Earth. I have been fortunate enough to not only observe the various forms of life in their natural abode but for witnessing stories that can melt the hardest of hearts making us believe that when it comes to emotions and responsiveness, at times animals have surpassed human beings by exhibiting traits in highest degrees. The story started in 2016 when 3 tigresses fondly named Powerline(PL), Tiger Tank(TT) and Backwater female(BW) littered sets of 2, 3, and 4 cubs respectively at Kabini. Soon after the birth, the Powerline tigress went missing along with the two cubs. While Kabini’s forest department was still searching for Powerline, Backwater tigress one of the fiercest tigresses of Kabini entered the village preying upon the cattle and livestock. The dismayed forest department tried to capture the beast alive to move back here into the forest but lost her in the process. It wasn’t long before the 2 corpses of Backwater cubs were found in the jungle. Kabini, that was once ecstatic at the progeny was now mourning over the untimely death of the tigers. It was in early 2017 that a miraculous event was witnessed when the Tiger tank tigress was seen fostering 7 cubs, the abandoned 4 cubs of Powerline and Backwater tigress with 3 of her own. The incident reinstated my belief in the strength and power of mother nature that created all forms of life on earth with an even stronger sense of warmth and tenderness. For over a year, we had the fortunes of sighting this newly formed family where Tiger tank tigress was raising her 7 cubs until one day when she went missing.

Out of the remaining 7 cubs, 2 male cubs ( Tiger tank and Powerline) have grown up to become the dominant tigers of Kabini while one of the female cubs of Tiger tank met her tragic end as she got strangled in the electric fences whence returning into the jungle. The other female cub of Tiger tank is considerably weak and prefers to remain in silos. The fostered Back water cubs have also been missing from the scene of late. The situation was not favorable for Kabini with the sudden decline in the population of female tigers when destiny took an interesting turn. All the cubs of Backwater tigress’s second litter had died but there was still one female cub remaining of her first litter who mated with the dominant Powerline male tiger and littered 3 healthy cubs. The female tigress is known as Junior Backwater female and together with Powerline male tiger is ruling Kabini.