Amid the hullabaloo over the forthcoming wedding of comedian Russell Brand and pop singer Katy Perry in the balmy environs of the world famous Ranthambhore National Park, a young male tiger from the Park was found dead in the adjoining Kuwalji sanctuary in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan on Friday. The officials of the Rajasthan Forest Department attributed the death to territorial clashes between two young male tigers vying each other for space in the wild.
Perhaps for the milling crowd of some 200 scribes and camera persons from India and abroad who are on a round the clock vigil on the movements of the couple and the arriving guests in the resorts of Aman-i-Khas, Vanya Vilas and Sher Bagh, tiger is a sub plot.
The victim, identified as T-36, a male of over three years of age, seemingly came in confrontation with a slightly elder male, which led to its untimely death after a bloody clash. The authorities feel that the surviving tiger should be T-42, which entered the Kuwalji sanctuary only recently while the deceased had been living in the area for sometime.
“It is a very unfortunate incident,” P.S. Somashekar, Chief Conservator Forests (Wildlife), Rajasthan, said talking to The Hindu. “The death of this particular male tiger is more distressing for us as it was one of the two cubs rescued by our staff when their mother was killed in a similar fashion by a male tiger. The cubs were of the age of eight months that time and they survived miraculously,” he said. “Normally once the mother dies survival becomes difficult for the tiger cubs in the wild, “he noted.
After the death of the mother tigress the cubs were left in the wild though the Forest staff kept an extra vigil on them, at times providing them with supplements. The intruder this time happened to enter from Jalco area of Ranthambhore to Kuwalji, not a favourite terrain for tigers due to the absence of a strong prey base there, a month back.
“Every month we are losing one tiger each whatever may be the reason,” lamented Rajpal Singh Tanwar, member of the Rajasthan Board for Wildlife. “The issue which needs immediate attention is the overcrowding of tigers in Ranthambhore National Park,” he said. “The Park has a carrying capacity of 30-32 tigers while we have a population of around 35-36, if the cubs are not be counted,” he noted.
In the last count there were 40 tigers in RNP of which two were re-located to Sariska Tiger Reserve in the State as a part of a re-introduction programme. At present two tigers are outside the area-one recently entered the famous bird haven, Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur while another reportedly crossed the Rajasthan borders three days ago to enter the neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.