A million tiger images float around the web – uploaded to Facebook or Twitter by excited first time visitors, amateur naturalists, famous photographers or expert biologists. Each image tells its very own personal story – but behind each image is a real tiger’s life – seldom told, often surprising and always fascinating.Today’s living legends, are our favourites; iconic feline superstars by dint of birth or strength of character. They were born or live their lives in well visited zones in some of India’s best-loved landscapes.
Born in 2003, Munna is perhaps the most photographed and most easily recognisable tiger in the Kanha Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh today due to his preferred terrain and striking facial markings. He has a dominant ‘CAT’ marking on his forehead. Despite not being particularly big, he has battled his way to dominance, which at times has led to injury. His ascendancy was tough and included many fights particularly during 2005 and 2006 when he was consolidating his territory. In one of the fights he sustained a leg injury (which has healed almost completely now) giving him a limp, hence the name ‘Langda’ or the limping one.
The dusty, deciduous Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, is home to several tigers. Over the years, each one has come to be well-known and sought after. One of them, T-15 or Collarwali (one with a collar), the daughter of Barimada, the star of the celebrated BBC documentary Spy in the Jungle (2008), is probably one of the most famous tigresses in India today. Her father, T1, fondly called Charger of Pench was equally popular.
A mature tigress and an excellent mother, the Telia (Madhuri) Female is the pride of the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. She frequents the Telia Dam, hence the name. Her territory encompasses about 20 sq. km., which is quite large. After mating with the Waghdoh Male, she gave birth to four female cubs that were popularly known as the ‘Girl Gang of Telia’.
Jai and Viru, two male tigers were born in 2010 to the tigress Mai, who is responsible for maintaining the tiger population in Nagzira and has reproduced about five generations to date. While three-and-half-year-old Jai migrated in search of a female, there is no trace of Viru. Jai’s claim to fame was the 120 to 130 km. journey he undertook to reach the Paoni range of the Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary.
Huge and intimidating – this is Waghdoh (Scarface), the dominant male of the Moharli Range in the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. He was blinded in the right eye following a tussle with a male gaur. Though a little grumpy occasionally, he is a very caring father to his new families.
This mother of four – Charamma (thus the name Char – four; Amma – mother) is one of Corbett’s most popular cats. She has managed to carve a territory for herself in the rich Bijrani Range of the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. Visitors passing through the Amdanda gate must drive five kilometres to get to Bijrani, and most exhort their vehicles to get quickly to ‘Charamma’s area’, little-knowing that her family’s sal and grassland territory began the very moment they crossed the gate.
Tiger profiles brought to you by the editor of Tiger Nation, Julian Matthews. Register with www.tigernation.org and you can contribute your photos to a photographic database of India’s tigers and follow their daily lives.