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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tiger cub found dead

TNN | Jul 4, 2012, 06.30AM IST MYSORE: A tiger cub has been found dead deep inside Bandipur National Park, raising concerns over the safety of tigers due to territorial fights in the tiger reserve. This is the second such death in Bandipur in five weeks. On May 30, a tiger was found dead in Moolehole range bordering Kerala. The officials had cited territorial fight as the cause of its death. On Monday evening, the field staff on patrol spotted the carcass of the cub at Gundre range. According to conservator of forests Kumar Pushkar, who heads the reserve, the 18-month-old might have died following a fight with another tiger. Its body parts were intact and there is no foul play, he added. The field staff are reporting territorial fights between the big cats, indicating a rise in tiger population in the reserve, he said. A postmortem was conducted on Wednesday in the presence of APCCF and field director (project tiger) B J Hosmath and C M Shivakumar, assistant inspector general of forests, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NCTA). There were representatives from the NGOs too.

At Ranthambore National Park, male tigers play mother

Anindo Dey, TNN | Jul 4, 2012, 03.35AM IST JAIPUR: The tiger's roar is becoming more and more "affectionate". And this is becoming "infectious" at the Ranthambore National Park. It is a rare behaviour among the male tigers, but as they say only change is permanent! T-25 was reportedly the first documented tiger to play "father figure" to cubs and since then officials have now recorded at least six more male tigers at the park, who are playing the daddy's role and are helping tigresses in bringing up the young ones. Male tigers are not known to take care of the young ones and are, on the contrary, kept away from the cubs by the tigresses. Generally, the mother takes care of the cubs till they are at least two-year-old while the father plays a mere visitor. "What is now happening in Ranthambore will denote the sheer complexity of tiger behaviour. The trend of tigers preferring solitude is gradually changing at the park. In fact, we have witnessed a peculiar, astonishing and amazing breakthrough in the behaviour of male tigers," said Rajesh Kumar Gupta, field director, Ranthambhore tiger reserve. Gupta has documented the behaviour or these six tigers in the current publication of Project Tiger. "In Ranthambore National Park, T-19 female with three cubs are in the bigger home range of their presumed father T-28. The territory of T-28 has increased or varies with the movement of T-19 and her three cubs, signifying reach of parental protection by the males. On March 18, I sighted T-19 tigress with two cubs. One of the cubs stood up and moved close to the male tiger T-28 and sat beside him for affection," wrote Gupta. "On March 29, 2012, I spotted tigress T-8 and her two cubs while returning from night patrolling and also saw tiger T-34 near them. The cubs were again spotted with the tigress and the tiger few days later in the same area. It has been noticed that T-8 with her two cubs are residing within the home range of T-34 male in the Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary," he says. "Tigress T-26 with three cubs live in the close vicinity of T-20, an aged tiger. T-31 with two cubs are frequently visited by tiger T-23. T-11 with three cubs are protected by T-33. T-30 with a litter of three cubs are being protected by T-3 and T-9 with two cubs are protected by T-33, a male tiger," he noted. Earlier, the national park had documented male tiger T-25 roaming with two orphaned cubs and was protecting them since they were four months old. T-25 did so in a range of other tigers, panthers and hyenas after their mother T-5 had died within 9 to 10 days after delivery. The tiger has also been sighted in direct confrontation with tigress T-17 while protecting these cubs. When contacted, Gupta explained, "It could be that the father of the cubs are providing parental protection to prevent infanticide and establish 'genetic supremacy' in the park. However, what has become clear is that male tigers do display affectionate behaviour, resorting to parental care. But research and observation should continue to reach a definite conclusion."