Tigers of Bandhavgarh – A Year of Sightings and Legends

tiger safari in bandhavgarh

Bandhavgarh National Park & its Tigers

Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, located in India, has continued to amaze visitors with its rich wildlife sightings during the period from October 2022 to June 2023. Every season, every day, and on every game ride, the reserve offers a unique experience akin to being on a floating ship in the ocean, where countless lives thrive beneath the surface. Bandhavgarh’s diverse zones, including Tala, Magadhi, and Khitauli in the core area, as well as the buffer zones of Dhamokhar, Panpatha, and Johila, contribute to the enchantment.

 

Magdhi & Dhamokhar Zones on Fire with Maximum Tiger Sightings

From the beginning of the season until the end of February, the Magadhi core zone and the Dhamokhar buffer zone witnessed remarkable tiger sightings. Tourists had the opportunity to witness the presence of tigers every day, including during night tiger safaris conducted in the buffer zones of Bandhavgarh. In the Magadhi zone, prominent tigers such as Dotty, a female with her four fully grown daughters, Mahaman Bachchi with three sub-adults, Baffer Wali (T-43) with three sub-adults, and Dhabhadol female with two sub-adults were frequently spotted. Another buffer wali, believed to be from the T-43 lineage, along with three fully grown male cubs named Jamhol, Mahaman male, Bajrang, and D-1, contributed to the thriving tiger population and the safety of their families. During the same period, sightings of wild elephants were also recorded, particularly in the Magadhi zone throughout the winter months.

Occasionally, Tara’s previous litter cubs in Panpatha (Pachpedi) and Tala supplemented the tiger sightings. Kajari and New Chakradhara, along with their three cubs, as well as males 7-D, Spotty’s grown-up individual, and Bajrang, made special appearances during various months.

The same pattern of sightings continued in Khitauli, with its legendary tigers such as Mahaman with her sub-adults, Darha with cubs, Tara with her two cubs, and Darha Bachchi’s families. Male tigers like Chhota Bheem, Pujari, and two others without given names were present throughout the season. It was a testament to the ongoing presence of these magnificent creatures.

As the wildlife destinations entered a three-month hiatus during the monsoon season, major changes were observed. Tala surpassed all expectations, resembling what used to be the norm in Magadhi and Dhamokhar during the winter months. It stood out as the best zone in the park, where slow and steady exploration resulted in remarkable sightings. Notably, on one occasion, the park recorded sightings of nine to eleven different tigers simultaneously. As anticipation builds for the next season, wildlife enthusiasts remain hopeful for continued sightings and encounters with these mighty legends.

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In addition to the recent sightings, it is important to reflect on the tigers that have roamed Bandhavgarh in the past. B-2, who died in November 2011 due to an injury sustained while hunting an ox, was cremated in part-2 at the junction of Mukunda in Magadhi. Rajbahara, also known as Bokha, passed away in June 2012 at the age of 14 due to an injury. Jhurjhura female met with an accident involving a gypsy in May 2010, while Siddhababa or Chor Bahara female, known as Langri, was killed by old Kankati in March 2011. Old Kankati, who died in August 2014, lost his life in a territorial fight, potentially with the present Chakradhara female. New Kankati T-35 succumbed to electrocution in October 2017 while caring for her three young tigers kept in an enclosure at Arharia Water.

The list of tigers also includes those who have lived happily and left their mark on Bandhavgarh. Banvei female (old) passed away due to old age in April 2009. Vanbei female T-32, born in 2007 from old Vanbei and B-2, presently has three 15-month-old cubs. One of the males was translocated to Nauradehi, while the other remains in his mother’s territory. Chakradhara female (old) disappeared after April 2010, having moved from Tala to the Panpatha buffer and not seen since. Sookhi Patiha female T-5, born in 2006, is the mother of two 15-month-old cubs from her fourth litter. Mahaman female T-23, who has not been seen since 2016, was the mother of Chhoti Mahaman T-40 and Mahaman female T-24, who are still regularly spotted in Magadhi and Khitauli areas. Darha female T-24, also known as Nigha female, is the mother of four grown-up cubs from her second litter, which are approximately three years old. Chhoti Mahaman T-40, born in 2009, is the mother of four very young cubs from her third litter, born in August 2017. Solo T-42, born from the present Rajbahara female T-34 in 2011, is the mother of four cubs from her first litter in December 2018.

A majestic tigress named Spotty T-41 was born in the year 2012. She inherited her genes from her mother, a graceful feline called Patiha, and her father, the formidable new charger T-6. Spotty T-41 went on to become a remarkable tigress, and she was blessed with the gift of motherhood.

Spotty T-41 had three grown-up cubs, all of them female and two and a half years old. The first cub was named Kajari, while the second one resided outside of the core area. However, it was the third cub, Sundari, who had a unique destiny. She was translocated to the beautiful Satkosia in Odisha in March 2015. This move was done to ensure her safety and well-being.

In addition to her first litter, Spotty T-41 also had a second litter in October 2018. Unfortunately, tragedy struck as all four cubs from the second litter were killed by a male tiger known as Chakradhara or 7D. It was a heartbreaking loss for Spotty T-41.

Another prominent tigress in Bandhavgarh was Dotty T-17, born in the same year as Spotty T-41. Dotty T-17, the daughter of Patiha and the powerful new charger T-6, had not yet experienced the joy of motherhood. She had mated with both T-37 and T-39 on several occasions but had not given birth to any cubs. However, her luck changed, and in July 2017, Dotty T-17 finally had her first litter. She became the proud mother of three male cubs.

Among the tigers of the Bandhavgarh, there was also Rajbahara chhoti bachchi T-43, born in 2011 to T-34 and T-18. She had become a mother and had successfully raised three cubs, who had grown up and separated into the Dhamokhar buffer zone.

 

Bengal tiger safari - tiger walking on pugdundee in bandhavgarh

 

Among the male tigers, there was Teer, also known as the new charger T-6. Born in 2008 to the legendary Mahaman T-23 and a tiger called Bokha, Teer carried the legacy of his parents. Another male tiger, Mangu T-9, had an unknown birth date and uncertain parentage. However, he had not been sighted since June 2019, leaving behind a mystery.

Jobi male T-18, born in 2006, was believed to have been born to a female named Jhurjhura and the male tiger Bokha. He had not been seen since June 2017, leaving the jungle shrouded in uncertainty about his fate.

Bheem T-22 was another enigmatic presence in the jungle. With an unknown birth date and uncertain parentage, his origins remained a mystery waiting to be unraveled. Chor bahara or ranchha T-29, born in 2009, was believed to have been born to a female named Siddha Baba and a powerful male tiger named Bamera. He had his own story waiting to be told.

 

Bamera - Tiger of Bandhavgarh
Bamera – Tiger of Bandhavgarh

 

Rajbahara female T-34, born in 2007, carried the lineage of Jhurjhura and Bokha. She had been a mother twice, with her first litter born in 2011, sired by T-38. Her second litter, born in March 2015, consisted of three male cubs and one female cub. Sadly, she met an untimely demise due to an injury in June 2018, leaving her cubs to face the world without her guidance.

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Bamera’s son, T-37, born in 2011 to old Kankati T-36 and the mighty Bamera T-63, had his own story yet to unfold. Similarly, Mamu T-39, born in 2012 to Chhoti Mahaman T-40 and the mysterious Jobi male T-18, carried the hopes and dreams of his lineage.

Lastly, there was Chhota Charger, born in 2012, the offspring of Chhoti Mahaman T-40 and Jobi T-18. This young tiger held immense potential and would soon embark on his own adventures, carrying the legacy of his ancestors.

In this intricate web of tigers, each with their own unique journey, the jungle witnessed the cycles of life, love, loss, and the eternal spirit of the mighty tigers that roamed its depths. The tales of these magnificent creatures continue to echo through time, capturing the imagination of those who hear their stories.

The Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is home to numerous other tigers, each with its own story and lineage. These majestic creatures have captivated the hearts of visitors and researchers alike, contributing to the rich biodiversity of the reserve. As Bandhavgarh prepares for the next season, it remains a symbol of hope and conservation efforts, ensuring the continued existence and protection of these incredible creatures for generations to come.

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