Do tigers have personality types?

T28 crossing track ©

T28 ( Star Male )

T-28, aka the Star Male of Ranthambhore ( ..because he has a star shaped mark above his right eye ) – the tiger who studiously avoids looking into my camera lens, or making any kind of eye contact with me, no matter what.

Quite the opposite of his compadre, T24- ( Ustaad sahib ) from the other side of the park, whose unwavering and penetrating gaze will make you squirm uncomfortably in your safari jeep.

 

t24-on-the-hill-c2a9

T24 ( Ustaad )

When you see a tiger in the jungle are you looking at just a tiger or at a unique individual? Can tigers be psychologically classified?  I tend to think so.

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Don’t save the Tiger!

T72 eye CU ©

 

 

Save yourself.

 

The forests in which the tigers live,  stabilize your climate.

Their plants enrich the soil by recycling the nutrients through the shedding of leaves and seeds. They also regulate the water cycle by absorbing and redistributing rainwater quite equally to every species living within its range.

They are the birthplace of many major rivers. They are connected to the water you drink.

They purify the air you breathe by absorbing air pollution.

Once a forest is not there to absorb the water from the rains, this creates floods and provokes soil erosion. Most of the nutrients and the elements needed to maintain life are washed away. In the tropics, deforestation can lead to desertification, where the area becomes a desert and loses most of its life.

Forests are the biggest source of your medicines. Forests contain a potential source of an amazing amount of cures, but most of it hasn’t been discovered yet. Your health is directly linked with the conservation of forests.

Overexploitation has led to the destruction of forests and the impoverishment of the people. It is you who loses a critical resource and doesnt gain anything in terms of development. Countries like Ethiopia have destroyed 98% of their forests to satisfy immediate needs. In less than 100 years, they’ve gone from 40% of the land being covered by forests to only 1%. Yet they haven’t made considerable improvements in development. The most devastating deforestation has been made to create short-term profits.

The tigers?  Well they’ll be fine by themselves. Just leave them alone in their forest. That’s all.

 

 

sambhar stag golden ©

 

The ‘Big Mac, with extra cheese ’ of the tiger world. Though a tiger’s diet is reasonable varied, the Sāmbhar is arguably its favorite comfort food.

A single tiger needs about 50 deer sized animals or about 7000 pounds of meat a year to survive in the wild. There is a theory that is gaining traction that almost all large wildlife the world over, i.e tigers, sāmbhars, polar bears, whales etc are all dwindling in numbers.

Having been a regular visitor to Ranthambore for many, many years, it does seem to me that the tigers seem to be killing more Neelgais ( Bluebulls ) and Cheetals ( Axis deer ) and fewer Sambar than they ever used to. I hope I’m wrong.

 

sambar vertical head bw ©

The sentinels of Ranthambore

Leopard sihilluette ranthambhore © B

 

The lone sentinel of Ranthambore fort – or so we thought. A mother leopard soaks in the dying rays of the sun, along with her 2 sub adults ( who came up and joined her a little later ) . With my double-barrelled excitement of seeing tiger cubs and leopard cubs on the same game drive, it does seem that all is well at Ranthambore.

 

However, Ranthambore still faces many contentious issues.  Even though poaching seems somewhat under control here these days,  the steady year round stream of human traffic going to the Ganesh temple, and the frequent intrusion of villagers who graze cattle and cut wood is a permanent nuisance and disturbs the equilibrium of the forest. Ranthambore is also a VIP park. The national capital not being too far away, politicians and celebrities show up regularly and often flout rules. Weekend party types also show up with loud music and junk food litter.  

 

And yet, it somehow remains a pristine haven for all wildlife. The recent baby boom of these magnificent cats is testimony to this fact. Despite all the bellyaching and complaints one hears, it is easy to forget that a lot of people are doing a lot of good work in Ranthambore.

 

Hope to see all these babies next year.

Just a Pea-hen

 

 

peahen ©

 

Celebrating the single most uncelebrated resident of the Indian forest- The ‘female’ Peafowl.  Much un-photographed and a pale shadow of her outrageously sequined partner, she is often the only thing in the vicinity when you are  parked in a jeep for hours, holding your breadth and twiddling your thumbs, waiting for tiger movement.

It is this ‘dead time’ that forces you to look out for the other little miracles of life and encounters that the jungle offers, which usually go blissfully unnoticed when you are hot on the trail of a  big cat.

A bevy of red wattled lapwings coercing a python to move away from their nest, a jungle cat stalking a monitor lizard, a pair of mating cobras, a red headed vulture cruising the cliffs, a fight for dominance in a troupe of Langurs, or just a  very nervous peahen walking a little to close to where a tiger is hidden.

 

 

 

Mom’s home.

T19 w cubs in pond wet ©

 

 

The comforting presence of a mom and the sheer joy of a cuddle is evident even amongst predators who are seen by many to only be cold & ferocious and incapable of what we arrogantly call ‘human emotions’~ yet another pic from a wonderful time spent with T19 & her 3 cubs in june 2014.

Ranthambore- A maternity ward

Leopard sihilluette ranthambhore © B

The lone sentinel of Ranthambore fort – or so we thought. A mother leopard soaks in the dying rays of the sun, along with her 2 sub adults ( who came up and joined her a little later ) . With my double-barrelled excitement of seeing tiger cubs and leopard cubs on the same game drive, it does seem that all is well at Ranthambore.

 

leopard mom plus 2 ©

 

 

 

T19 3 cubs leaving jhalra ©

 

However, Ranthambore still faces many contentious issues.  Even though poaching seems somewhat under control here these days,  the steady year round stream of human traffic going to the Ganesh temple, and the frequent intrusion of villagers who graze cattle and cut wood is a permanent nuisance and disturbs the equilibrium of the forest. Ranthambore is also a VIP park. The national capital not being too far away, politicians and celebrities show up regularly and often flout rules. Weekend party types also do their thing, showing up with loud music and junk food litter.  

 

Mom & 2 cubs in water

 

 

 

leopard mom and 1 cub on wall ©

leopard sil wall ©

3 leopards on the rampart ©

 

And yet, it somehow remains a pristine haven for all wildlife. The recent baby boom of these magnificent cats is testimony to this fact. Despite all the bellyaching and complaints one hears, it is easy to forget that a lot of people are doing a lot of good work in Ranthambore.

 

Hope to see all these babies next year.