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Season Round Up Corbett

Each year when a season in Corbett comes to an end, I feel somewhere like the wheels of time have stopped ticking and the only thing that’s alive are the memories and the longing for another start. The end always signifies another beginning and hopefully an even healthier and happier start.

Corbett has flourished after a long time and the season gone by has been action-packed and full of many memorable sightings. Tiger families have flourished and many new cubs have been given birth to. The hope and prayer is to see that most of them survive the travails of the jungle and live to become the next generation of tigers in Corbett. Unlike many other reserves, the tigers in Corbett have not yet been named or numbered which is something that has also helped protect their identity and location from possible poachers owing to their anonymity. Therefore, I’m going to try and stick to the policy while detailing their sightings in the reserve.

While Corbett is divided into 3 zones with Jhirna being the least and Dhikala being the most frequented one. This year saw a welcome change and tigers in unexpected quarters in the Jhirna zone as well. With the relocation of some villages and more land being added to the Jhirna zone, the area saw some frequent tiger movement after many years. Two separate tigresses with cubs and a male tiger that dominated the grassland area were seen through the zone.

Sharmilee from Bijrani Zone of Corbett

Sharmilee ©Anurag Sharma

One of the most popular and now frequently photographed tiger families of Corbett is of a tigress popularly known as Sharmilee in the Bijrani zone. The four cubs of this lovely lady are two males and two females and have been hogging the limelight this season as most tourists have flocked to find them in the forest while giving the other tigers some required off time. By the time the park is ready to open up again, we’re assuming that the cubs would have moved forward to mark their territories and start anew, independently. April had witnessed a territorial fight between the family of Sharmilee and another tigress with cubs in this zone with Sharmilee walking away with the prize. Another couple of male tigers in the zone that have been spotted much less frequently owing to the tourist pull towards Sharmilee and family were seen on a few occasions closer to the Malani rest house.

Dhangadi gate leads into the main and most popular zone of Corbett known as the Dhikala zone. To

Paarwali tigress Corbett

             Paarwali© Neha Parmar

reach Dhikala is an almost two-and-a-half-hour drive into the forest which sees other smaller sub-areas on the way. Starting with Sultan, Gairal, Sarpduli, Khinnanauli and finally, they make way for Dhikala. The showstopper this season has been undoubtedly a tigress now popularly known as the paarwaali by many in the Dhikala range. A young tigress who has been the delight of many photographers and wildlife enthusiasts by lounging in the water through the hot summer months and giving some amazing sightings in the water. Another couple of tigresses have been sighted frequently across the river in Dhikala amongst whom one had a young litter with her as well. Very conspicuous by his absence has been any male tiger in the area, which is home to three tigresses and cubs. Maybe the next season will see us getting an introduction with him as well.
Towards the grassland in Dhikala, another tigress who has been seen for the last 2-3 years with her cubs has now started making bold forays and been sighted quite regularly through the season along with her family. A very shy male who has not been sighted for a long time was seen towards the inside of Thandi Sadak this year with much difficulty. Another separate set of male and female tigers have been sighted in the grassland area with some frequency this season particularly at the different watering holes and towards Car Road.

Sambar Road which used to be the domain of a couple of big male tigers has had less frequent sightings this season if any. After the disappearance of a prominent dominant male tiger also popularly known as Bhola, tiger sighting has been quite difficult to come by in the area. A female with cubs though has made a home in the area and we do hope to see more of the family in the next season as they had been particularly shy in the year gone by. Some suspect them to be the next generation of Bhola. Khinnanauli area shares its tiger sightings with Ram Singh Road and Sambar Road usually.

Diwani Ram Male Corbett

Diwani Ram Male©Neha Parmar

One of the most famously infamous tigers of the Sarpduli range is Diwaniraam. Named after the worker he killed in a chance encounter at the Sarpduli rest house. He continues to roam the area and is revered by all due to the sheer size and strength he emanates, commanding fear and respect from one and all. Another couple of female tigresses in the area have been seen in courtship with Diwaniraam and I can’t wait to see if any of them will have given birth this coming season and to make way for the next of kin.

Gairal has seen some great sightings this year thanks to a tigress with her litter of cubs who have been frequently sighted in the water as well as close to the Gairal rest house. A tiger cub who is fast gaining the reputation of bheem due to his sheer size of him at less than two years of age has also been sighted frequently in the area adjoining Gairal. I think I might be safe in assuming that he might turn out to be a serious crowd-puller in the coming season if he decides to show himself a little more frequently. Tigers in the Gairal, Sarpduli and Sambar Road areas have generally been seen to be much larger possibly due to a much richer diet of Sambar’s as compared to their Cheetal-eating cousins in the grasslands.

Corbett remains truly the land of roars, trumpets and song. Along with the very elusive and very

Elephants at Corbett

Elephant herd at Corbett© Neha Parmar

beautiful tigers that frequent this land we are also privileged to host many other species of wildlife in the area. Come summer and with the grassland springing up fresh grass elephant herds are seen in multitudes every year and for many, they offer a far deeper sense of satisfaction upon sighting as compared to the tiger. This year again saw many Elephant families flock towards Corbett in search of fresh grass and water from all the adjoining areas. A feast for the animals and a feast for our eyes is what the forest offers when it comes to wildlife of any kind.

Corbett tigers are quite shy and tend to be very elusive. The welcome refuge of the dense foliage allows them to retreat into the forest as soon as encountered a foreign presence. This is what makes the sighting of tigers in Corbett a very difficult and strenuous task and requires much patience, time and skill. As I like to say, they are still wild and creatures of the jungle in the truest sense.

The article concluded with inputs from: Nachiketa Bajaj and Sriroopa Raheja Bajaj

About the author: Neha Parmar is a wildlife photographer and a conservationist with some tolerable talent for writing. If you liked, connected or have a contrary perspective with anything that you read please feel to share your feedback.



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