Season Round Up: Tadoba
It is during that time of the year when enthusiasts and photographers wrap up their gear and wait out until the next season dawns a new beginning, that we attempt the gather our wits around what was the dynamics of the park until this end-of-season at Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve.
The park this year, undoubtedly was a tiger enthusiast and photographer’s paradise, given the number of cubs that kept their audiences enthralled fairly consistently through the season.
Although many felt that the first family, Wagdoh-Madhuri’s movement to buffer would upset tiger sightings, more so given the litter of four that Madhuri produced subsequently by the end of last season, the family chose to prove nay-sayers otherwise with consistent sightings across Junona-Dewada through the season. With the impending separation of the family and the cubs now living out by themselves, the forthcoming season will be interesting to see if one of them decides to occupy big daddy, Wagdoh’s territory sometime soon, given their father’s tendency to generously donate land to his kin. Wagdoh, himself was seen fairly regularly through the season across Dewada, Junona and Agarzari, the buffer belt that he had comfortably occupied until recently, when he got into a row with a newer unidentified male.
Tadoba range had its fair share of glories with Choti Tara & family and Maya dominating the stage through the season. With the loss of her cubs last season, Maya seems to be moved ahead and was spoilt for her choice of men, given the frequent visits of Gabbar or Leopard face, Namdev or Saturn and Katejhari Male or Amitabh across Tadoba Lake, Chital Road and Panderpauni. Although, Maya certainly was one of the most sighted tigers this season given her long walks along Tadoba Lake, Chital Road, Panderpauni or Main Road, Choti Tara and her family of two, a male and a female, made the area from Vasantbhandara across the main road to Jamunbodi and Jamni village ring out loud with alarm calls with their regular appearance. The end of the season though is rumoured to have brought the tragic end of the male cub, when he was challenged by another male from Kolara and the family has unfortunately not been seen since. Among the males, Gabbar had a very unfortunate season, beginning with the radio-collaring, where he and Choti Tara was radio-collared as part of the monitoring exercise by the Wildlife Institute of India and the subsequent row that he got into with Amitabh which resulted in serious injuries to his face, which fortunately with time and a little help from the department healed.
Moharli this season, was devoid of tigers with only the current dominant Telia female, Sonam, seen regularly and the occasional sighting of the new male of Moharli, sometimes referred to as Bajrang, who through the season was busy occupying much of Wagdoh’s territory. He was also sighted sometime in early June with Sonam’s sister, Lara. While Mona was sighted only once this season, the last of the Telia family, Geeta chose not to make her presence in the tourism zone.
Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve’s crowning glory this season was the Kolsa range. After having opened up for tourism in the recently concluded season, this range suddenly stunned Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve as signs of tiger families started appearing in Botezari, Fulzari, Shivanzari and Kuwani. While it took some time for the tigers of Kolsa to get acquainted with the humans beginning to make this range their favourite haunt this season, the season saw three families, Botezari, Shivanzari and Kuwani dominate the sighting records in this range. In late January, the Botezari family of three cubs put up a splendid act by taking down an adult male bison in full public view and beginning then, Kolsa became the haunt of people on the lookout. Soon, cropped up the tiny four-member litter of the Kuwani female and through March, April & May this family put up a brilliant show, until they finally chose to regain their peace and the regularity of their sightings dropped.
All-in-all, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve produced a phenomenal season with over 21 cubs and over 24 adults sighted through the season from the estimated 60+ adults across the reserve.
Tadoba zealots wait for the gates to open and enter the two places that made Tadoba famous, as one each from the famous families of Telia and Panderpauni, Sonam and Maya respectively, who have occupied their mother's territories are believed to have holed up their new litters.
We hope that next season shall make history turn back its pages and make these two beautiful grasslands etched in the sands of time…