Very frequently, tigers venture into the territories of other tigers.
We were tracking the Chakradhara female and her cubs in the Tala zone one foggy November morning.
We spotted the pugmarks of the mother and her cubs walking from Shesh Shaiya all the way to Sita mandap.
However, the tracks quickly vanished into the mountains. When we checked the other side of the mountain, we didn’t see the cubs—just the pugmarks of the female emerging.
Why the mother left her cubs so far into the woods puzzled me.
We soon heard two tigers in the grasslands of Chakradhara snarling at each other.
After waiting for about half an hour, one male and one female adult tiger were visible to us.
Her body language made it clear that the tigress did not feel at ease in his company.
At first, i got confised as to why the mother went to so much trouble of hiding the cubs if she was with Bajrang.
We were later able to identify the male as “Trishuldhari” with our binoculars, and after examining several photos ,but this wasn’t his area.
Things became evident at that point.
These cubs’ father, Bajrang, was not around at the time. Taking advantage of this, Trishuldhari wanted to mate with the cubs’ mother- Chakradhara female.
However, the mother tried to protect the cubs from this stranger by hiding them away.
The females take this measure to protect their cubs since any other male—apart from their father—will kill the young!
Seeing how wary of other tigers the moms and cubs must be in order to survive is startling. Not to mention animals like hyenas and leopards who never miss an occasion to feast on the helpless cubs.
Currently, the cubs are safe. And maybe they grow into fearless tigers as their mother did.