More sad news for Bandhavgarh with its fourth male tiger death since the start of the season by electrocution. This young male was found near Kua and Machmacha villages, approximately 30 km beyond the periphery of the Tiger Reserve on open private ground surrounded by scrub forest. Being found beyond Khitauli, my first thoughts were for those tigers rarely seen in an area largely closed to our monitoring - the Khitauli range tigers.
The first news of the death came on a local TV station and Satyendra immediately phoned the Field Director. He was told that he was about to leave for the scene and Satyendra joined him as the body lay in an unprotected area with no restriction of movement by villagers. Satyendra left just before 2.30pm and returned after 11pm, once the autopsy had been performed.
As in the previous cases the tiger had literally stepped on a live wire laid for bush meat, most probably wild boar, and had died instantly. This was a beautiful young male tiger with years of life ahead of him. Once again photographs of the stripe pattern were taken for identification purposes. Sadly I can report that this young tiger of approximately two years of age was one of the Damdama cubs seen for the first time in Bandhavgarh approximately twelve months ago and highlighted in. From its left flank and facial patterning it can be positively identified.
The two young male most probably left their mother sometime after the monsoon and have been wandering as transient youngsters ever since. With Indrani’s two boys thought to be still somewhere in the Khitauli area and Mukunda male now settled as dominant male in Garhpuri and Damdama, these two boys of the tigress Haimi had no choice but to leave the protection of their mother’s territory last year. Now H1 is dead and it is very probable that the young male electrocuted previously in Khitauli was his brother. With few photos of these tigers on record due to lack of monitoring and the nature of such shy animals (luckily I have several of his left flank and face to match in this instant) it is always difficult to say for sure, but for this poor boy, he was one of Bandhavgarh’s treasured youngsters.
Interestingly all the recorded deaths this season have been male tigers and all relatively young. Everyone knows there are far too many male tigers in the vicinity of Bandhavgarh right now - but what is the solution to provide them protection in their wanderings in search of their own territory? Obviously bush meat poaching is a huge problem and taking the lives continually of
Now I am seeing photographs of too many dead tigers.