Season Round up IV - Bandhavgarh
Bandhavgarh Season Round up – 2019-20
As always, I revisit the prediction we had made last year on the season that just finished. I feel like a soothsayer in many ways, here’s why:
Tigerwalah Prediction for 2018/19 season:
Expect a new Spotty & Banbehi litter!! In addition, I think Dotty’s litter will light up Bhul bulaiya area…. these are 3 things I think will create the much-needed excitement in 2018. Elsewhere the 3 new females (bhitri, Tara & sukhi earlier female) having established territories may have some good news in the second half of the season. The other 2 cubs of Spotty have to find an area to establish territory and this may create a new exciting time for us. I expect them to split during the monsoons and we may just find them in new places when the park opens. The Park with see more than 10+ cubs this season…. within the tourism area.
Kila female may not be seen that often, as she has an elusive streak to her, but expect her to be seen more in the second half of the year. The males will remain as comfortable as they did in 2017/18.
Hence, we overall view is we will see a lot of tension and aggressive territory fights this year. The females will try and dominate across Bandhavgarh. I do think this year we will see a lot of more territorial females establishing their rule and setting up for a stable 2018/19 and beyond.
- We got a new Spotty & Banbehi Litter. (We unfortunately lost the Spotty litter)
- Dotty’s cubs lit up the Bhul Bhaliya area, Charkwah and Sukhi Lake.
- Tara had new cubs. Bhitri and Dhabhadhol female were seen mating.
- 2 remaining cubs – one of which was Kajri established a new territory post monsoon.
- Park did see 20 new cubs – Dotty (3), Spotty (4), Solo (5), Tara (2), Sukhi (3), Banbehi (3) in the tourism area.
- Kila female remained elusive.
- Males were all comfortable.
- A lot of tension and aggressive fights (Sukhi & Dotty, Solo and Bhamera, Chakradhara male and Spotty, Banbehi & Kajri)
Feels good to make some predictions and getting them almost 100% right!!!
Let’s look at the year gone by, the park opened with news around the Dotty litter seen in the monsoon by the elephants and early pictures coming thru via the social media. Just setup the excitement for October. Around that time, Solo with her cubs were spotted across and the queen spotty marched out with her new litter, showcasing such small cubs never seen before by tourists. This created a never before energy with wildlife enthusiasts, it felt like we were back in the heydays of 2008-2010. Yet, nature had a roll of dice or two pending, Spotty lost her entire litter to the Chakradhara male who was establishing territory in the Damnar area and overnight the place turned into an empty barren dam. It remained this way thru the season.
Elsewhere, Dotty’s cubs were all over the Sukhi area, they played, they fought, they just lit the area with numerous photo opportunities in the season. The season will be well remembered because of them.
Somewhere, around the Park, two old mothers Banbehi and Sukhi had new litters with 3 each and they started to bring these cubs in very difficult circumstances. Kajri, Bhitri, and Dotty had pushed them out of their territories, and they got into bloody battle to raise their litter. Both the females suffered many injuries and forcing them both towards the edge of the park near the villages to raise the litter. A fate which they had to face in months to come.
Khithauli became active with Mahaman litter, Durrah litter & the new & cute Tara litter. It was a literally a stroll in the park for many to see them in the zone. They came they posed, and they went.
The males started to make progress in establishing new territory and we saw Bhamera Jr making new territory until Damnar and Sehra. Chakradhara male establishing the old Mangu territory. Mahaman and Bheem stayed happy in their space.
The season put on a show month on month and just as we called it the best in years, things changed for the worse, Spotty lost her litter, Solo was gravely injured and was at risk, Banbehi was very badly injured and had to be treated for survival, Sukhi was limping they the 1st half. The bloody battles had taken a toll. All of these mothers had young cubs.
Something unbelievable happened, the Kila female (Chakradhara) remained elusive but her earlier litter male and female started to show up in the Chakradhara area. In the last few days, the sub adult female started to boldly show herself in the Siddh baba area a la Chorbhera Female from 2009/11. For us many, we kept looking for hope when we drove and finally, we saw her. It was Nostalgic. Truly.
The park remained very edgy thru the second half, with so much movement there were bound to be a lot of altercations and deadly fights. Most of us had a very uneasy feeling thru the season. Somehow the season ended with no further losses. While I write this message, we get news around one of Sukhi’s cub being ill and succumbing to the same, and the mom herself missing for over 12 days ( The hunch was just turning real !!). Anyway, I hope she just turns up miraculously.
So, what’s our prediction for the 2019-20 season, this time I feel I might just get it wrong, but here goes.
Tigerwalah prediction for 2019-20 for Bandhavgarh
- Expect new litters from Spotty, Dhabhadhol, Mahaman, Bhitri or Kajri.
- The Battle for Damnar will Hot up between Chakradhara Male and Bhamera Jr.
- The season will be very low in the first few months and expect things to be largely around Magdhi.
- A lot of Males – lot of aspirant males – expect new tension across the park.
- The new chakradhara female may show up more as she gets used to tourists.
- Summer might have its highs, but it may be normal and not exceptional.
- Overall, I expect this to be a moderate season not the least comparable to the highs of 2018-19.
If you are planning a visit, I would recommend post Jan 2020. Hopefully the new year may turn up better for Bandhavgarh.
Enjoy!! Thank you.