Season Round up: Bandhavgarh
Rise of the 3 Sultans as one fades away…
As I round off the Bandhavgarh season 2016, it occurred to me to revisit the Season round off of 2015 and the Tigerwalah prediction.
The Tigerwalah 2015 prediction: The Park will see Tala rebound gloriously, Magdhi continue to rock, and expect to see 15+ Cubs next season. The season will be like never before…and the females of Bandhavgarh will lead the way.
While I have to admit that Tala continues to be slow on its road to recovery, the other predictions are beginning to show up true. The glorious Rajbhera, Sukhi, Dotty, Spotty, Choti Mahaman & Nigah Nalah, Solo & Bindi(new Kankatti) females are lighting up or leading the recovery at Bandhavgarh. We predicted 15+ new cubs at Bandhavgarh and we seem to have got that right. ( Rajbhera – 4 / Nigah Nalah – 4 / Spotty – 3 / Choti Mahaman – 4) , last heard another new litter of 4 seen at Khitauli. This is the Bandhavgarh we all know and cherish throughout our lives.
2016 at Bandhavgarh will be remembered for a very special male tiger, Bhamera. This handsome male lived his last days in an enclosure and finally passed away in the summer. What we know of him is he lived in the era of B2 and Bocca and carried on the great Bandhavgarh legacy and genes across the park. Very disciplined and calm was his demeanour and was always up for a picture. Bhamera fades away…his memory lingers on for those who have known him. The good news, perhaps came from 3 new Sultans who in my opinion will be ruling Bandhavgarh in the next few years. The 1st is the Kankatti Male (X male) prodigy of the late Kankatti and Bhamera (B2 lineage) and he is now dominating the area around Tadoba waterhole and old C route. The 2nd is the New & large Mahaman male, he is now ruling the Mahaman area, Sukhi area & Bhul bhuliya area. The 3rd is undisputed in his territory and is the very beautiful Banbehi male cub. I see these 3 to be holding the Bandhavgarh tiger territory for a while. Welcome the 3 new Sultans. October / November this year started to see the Rajbhera and its litter show itself around Tala, the BBC crew were delighted to get many moments with these beautiful cubs and a splendid mother. Rajbhera has proved to be a brilliant mom, by bringing up her second 4 cub litter. She kept crisscrossing Spotty across the range and they often avoided each other. Spotty on the other hand, kept showing herself often in the range. She with her most beautiful eyes kept the early winter worthwhile for many visitors. Early Jan / Feb saw the couple in love, the Kankatti Male (X male) & Jr. Kankatti (Bindi) around the waterhole, this is turning out to be an awesome combination for the park with the lineage of Jhujhura and B2/ Bhamera carrying on and we hope to see cubs in 2016/17.
On the other hand, the Park got a new director, Mr. Raman K and he and his team have started to rebuild Bandhavgarh, several thoughtful procedures and changes have been bought in and we hope to see the start of the revival of this beautiful park under his guidance. The park itself saw a poor monsoon and this led to several areas drying up, including the Rajbhera dam. The authorities have been working to create waterholes and we expect this to revive the park.
March & Summer was all about the Choti Mahaman and its new litter, a very shy mother and along with Nigah Nallah and its cubs started to create magic at Khitauli and parts of Magdhi. The Big Mahaman male started to push Sukhi's old litter out of the area and started to court both Dotty and Sukhi. He now is a big male and is aggressive and his approach. Expect good news coming in from these 2 mother's next season. May belonged to the rajbhera litters, and with all their histrionics and playful activities they began to light up the park. Solo and Dotty kept showing themselves often. June bought great news for the park, Spotty was seen with its first litter of 3. At last, the old and mad Bandhavgarh fans believed to see the revival of Tala.
This year should be remembered for the rise of the 3 Sultans and how one faded away…
Tigerwalah Prediction for 2016/17 season: 2017 will continue to see the rise of the females in the park, expect much from Solo, New Kankatti, Dotty & Sukhi females and this year we should see an addition of 10+ new cubs in the park. Spotty needs to find the Mirchaini area and settle herself to be able to survive the interference of the cubs. Rajbhera has a very nice spot around the Sehra area and we don’t expect to see too many changes there. The key to the park is what will happen to Chakradhara and Sidd Baba, and this year I expect to see a tigress in these grasslands. A very good chance to see New Kankatti establish herself here, if there was not another tigress as people mention of an elusive tigress with 2 cubs.