A RARE show of a tigress protecting her four cubs has become a centre of attraction in the Pench Tiger Reserve in the State. The show has led to nearly a four-fold rise in the number of tourists as compared to the corresponding period last year.
While the number of tourists to the reserve had touched 1,500 figure in October last year, this year it swelled to 5,500. The number of tourists in November last year was 2,300, this year it crossed 3,000 by November 20.
“It is a rare thing to spot five tigers at the same time. The cubs, two male and two female, now almost 15-month-old look like full-grown tigers. So, it becomes a unique wildlife visual treat of five tigers,” says Rajneesh Kumar Singh, Game Range Officer of the reserve.
The tigress leaves early in morning to hunt for her prey while the cubs play around. She comes back in the afternoon with her hunt and then leaves with her cubs to some other territory, he said, adding “There is a white colour spot on the rear side of the tiger’s ears which scientists assume helps cubs to trail their mother.”
For every 50 attempts of preying by the tigress, only one is successful so she has to toil hard to feed her and her cubs, he said. The prey base consists of more than 16,000 cheetals, around 2,500 sambhars as many nilgais and around 700 bisons.
Generally, it is difficult for all cubs to survive because of ‘mishandling’ of the mother or the tendency of the male tigers to kill cubs. But, this time all the cubs have survived, he added.
Pench is less commercialised and that is the reason why more tourists are getting more attracted to this reserve, Singh said, adding “Even the Taj Group has built a resort on its premises which will become functional by early next year.”