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Ranthambore Season Round Up

Ranthambore Season Round-Up: Another great sighting season at Ranthambore as predicted by Tigerwalah in our season round-up at the beginning of last season. However, it was not the first family of Ranthambore like previous years which topped the sighting charts this season. It might not come as a surprise to Ranthambore regulars but it was the family from zone 6, T8 and her two cubs which topped the sighting charts for this season with Noor and her 3 sub-adults cubs being a close contender.

Ranthambore witnessed one of the weakest monsoons in the last few years and the effect was visible since the beginning of the season in October. Most of the streams/ water bodies were dry by November and those with water had water levels similar to the end of March.

Noor’s 1-plus-year-old female cubs had started showing signs of independence especially one of the

Noor's cub at Ranthambore

One of Noor’s cubs

female cub while two other cubs were still hanging around the mother. This continued for almost the entire season while the mother and two cubs preferred spending most of their summer in Zone 2, the single female cub preferred to keep a safe distance from the rest of the family and settled herself in Zone 1. By the end of the season, Noor was looking ready to get rid of the other two cubs as well and time and again was seen displaying her anger/frustration. With cubs completing 2 years this monsoon they are likely to get separated soon, while one cub is definite to occupy part of her mother’s territory only time would tell the fate of the other two. She already reported mating with T57 a few weeks back, indicating that she has moved on.

Zone 6 Ranthambore

Cubs of T 8 at Ranthambore

Not so far away from this family T8, her partner T34 and the two male cubs continued to hold the fort of their ever-shrinking territory. Once rulers of zone 6, 7 & 8 this couple now holds zone 6 a relatively small territory surrounded by dominant and aggressive males like T57 & T58 from all sides. Popular with tourists who wanted to only see a tiger & agents/lodges who wanted to ensure a sighting for their guests, zone 6 was a favourite right from word Go and even till the end of the season. Born sometime at the end of 2016 both the male cubs would soon have to venture out from their home turf as well.

cubs at Ranthambore

Cubs of T19

The first family of Ranthambore had a slow start with T19 losing one of the cubs during monsoon and was sighted with 3 cubs only at the beginning of the season.  While she preferred to keep a low profile earlier in the season, reducing water levels saw her spending a lot of time with cubs in Semli Valley of the park.  Her successor T84 aka Arrowhead was rumoured to be pregnant at the beginning of the season, was finally sighted with 2 cubs at the end Feb which was well received by the entire wildlife community, who were looking forward to glorious days of the lake area once again which wore a deserted look otherwise. This euphoria died down very early post-death of both the cubs. Her sister Lightning aka T83 on the other hand had settled herself in territory vacated by the death of her grandmother Machli and was even sighted with 2 cubs by the end of March. The presence of dominant males around lakes was negligible during this season unlike last summer when I had sighted 3 different males around lakes in a single safari. After receiving defeat at the hands of T86, T91 was pushed out of the park and was subsequently shifted to Mukundara Tiger Reserve in April 2018. T86 was involved in a messy fight with T95 a young male wherein both had sustained severe injuries and were treated by the forest department. Post this fight he preferred to remain on hiatus and his sightings were only a handful.

The other family in zone 2- T60 and her cubs made their presence felt mostly in summer. While the female cub moved out and settled in zone 10 both the boys were still hanging out together most of the time and were even seen sharing the same waterhole in peak summer. It would be interesting to watch if this camaraderie continues post-monsoon as well. Father T57 has been tolerant of their presence so far but might not be in the mood to hand over reigns yet.

T41 and her single male cub also made their presence felt especially in summer months with frequent sightings in Berda and Bakola Valley.

Another family on zone 10 – T42 aka Fateh and his partner T13 continued to oblige visitors with sightings, especially post-March. With limited water resources in the area, it was mostly a game of patience and the cats were in a mood to oblige. Not very far from here T59 was sighted with two cubs in zone 9 bringing zone 9 in the limelight again. Once a favourite with last-minute travellers his zone had lost out to other non-premium zones like 6 & 10 due to better road network as well as frequent sightings.

This season also saw the end of T33 aka Chiroli male & also the legendary star male aka T28 who had once ruled over the lakes for almost a decade. At one point in time had had one of the biggest territories in the park virtually from one end to the other.

 Overall, a great sighting season at Ranthambore as expected and predicted by us.

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