Adios: Till we meet again
So finally, the date arrived & went by. Nothing much changed for common people but for people related to wildlife trade & photography, it is significant. As Parks are now closed for the next 3 months effective 3oth June on account of the monsoon, they can think of their holidays now, lesser mortals like me become technically unemployed for the next three months, hotel staff can go back to their homes and so on. Some areas of Ranthambhore, Corbett however remain open for tourists.
Time for us to take stock of the last tourism season at Ranthambhore. It was a great year overall with the birth of so many cubs in the tourism zone after a long time. News of both T19 & T39 raising a new litter brought joy to all as both these tigresses are settled in the tourism zone. While we hope & pray for the safety of these families in the monsoon, the coming season promises a lot of action around these families.
Some of the sub-adult cubs from the previous litter were also seen roaming in the tourism zone in search of new land of their own. While some were successful, some had no choice but to move out. T65 & T64- sub-adult male cubs of T19 followed their mother to lakes from their Erstwhile home at Lahpur and spent a good amount of time around lakes. Even though the mother was busy raising the newborn, they were not very far away. Especially the younger cub was still frequently sighted around new family though at a distance. On the last day of the park, T64 was seen sharing a waterhole with Father T28.
Sultan the brat created sensation with his alleged disappearance in January end however soon found making a new territory for his own. It was on expected lines as the mother was getting ready for raising a new family. However, he continues to share the area with his parents & so far, they have been tolerating his presence, would this continue or this young lad would finally have to move out only time will tell.
Orphan cubs of T17 have turned sub-adults and were frequently sighted this summer. While the female cub prefers to stay alone, both male boys are seen together. With almost zero challenge from any dominant male or female in that area, they can continue to be at peace at least for now.
In a surprise move Dollar aka T25 managed to snatch Romeo’s girl T41 right under his nose & was seen mating with her. It looked more like a forced one as the female wanted to ensure the safety of her young sub-adult girl.
As always second oldest tigress T22 kept her promise and obliged visitors with frequent sightings in zone II. This time she had some young company in the form of T57 a young sub-adult cub of T26 who ventured here in search of land.
Two subadults- a female cub of T8 & another male cub have settled in zone 7 and were sighted frequently this summer. Hoping this pair could produce cubs in the coming season. At the same time T8 is raising a litter of 2 cubs, she probably lost the lone male cub which was sighted in December. Another female sub-adult cub has now moved to zone 10 & has been spending time with T42, hoping this union would finally provide Qual ji – its first family soon.
Last but not least – the legend. After giving a scare to her followers the world over, the queen reappeared from her hiatus and continued to bless visitors with her sighting till the last day. With increasing pressure from her family members, she was forced to shift even closer to the park boundary under the watchful eyes of a personal guard. While she has been written off by many, she continues to surprise…. hoping the coming year would be no different either.
Best zone– While all zones had their share of glory, zone II & zone V stole the show with maximum sightings. Post sighting of cubs, zone III was the favourite but the department had to close/regulate tourism to ensure the safety of cubs. Zone IV did miss the bus with lesser sightings.
Most sighted tiger: yet to compile the data for this year T19 looks like a strong contender.