The photo that isn’t

t19 calling teeth ©

T19 calling out to her cubs in Jhalra, October 14th 2014

The tiger version of Begum Akhtar singing a ghazal? Or… Begum Akhtar at the dentist’s?
Neither.

This is a mother tigress calling her cubs upon her return from her wanderings. She moans softly, calling out to the invisible cubs who have remained hidden in a thicket in Ranthambhore for the entire day. They gradually emerge from the relative safety of dense foliage, squealing with excitement and have a grand reunion with mom. This is always a very moving moment for those lucky enough to witness it – as wildlife lovers or photographers- something I’ve have tried to capture quite a few times and failed badly.
This picture also fails ( it is more about the health of T19’s battle-scarred hunting equipment than anything else ) but seems somewhat suggestive of a mother’s longing. ~ ( 1dx X500mm, f/4, iso/640, sh/1/2000, full frame ) I would love to see if someone has captured this moment on camera.

T19 emerging towards jhalra©

T19 calling out her cubs, still hidden in the bushes

Boys to Men

It is fascinating to notice the body language change in a tiger as it grows. I saw this one at 2 months and now he is 6 months old. From a fearful and jumpy cub to a nervous youngster. In another 3 or 4 months he will put on a lot more weight and heft. According to tiger experts, that is when a big dose of confidence kicks in. At 3 or 4 years and a tiger looks and walks like he owns the world. Size does matter, it seems.

cub stopping at moms sight flp ©

cub at two months

cub stalking  flp©

cub at 2 months

cub crossing the track

cub at six months

t24 on bridge alt flp ©

full grown tiger at four years