Looking for a mate, tiger travels 250km across Madhya Pradesh

Ujjain’s chief conservator of forest has been keeping tabs on the tiger for the past year and says the tiger has moved through Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas, Ujjain, Dhar and Jhabua districts.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2017 18:39 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
tiger,Madhya Pradesh,Dewas
A picture of the tiger taken in Jhabua.(HT)

A male tiger has travelled over 250km in the last one year looking for a mate in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas, Ujjain, Dhar and Jhabua districts but his quest has remained unfulfilled so far and he is again on the move worrying forest officials.

“The male tiger, who is around three years old, is definitely looking for a mate and he is getting restless which is probably why he is on the move. But the problem is that there is no female tiger in this area,” Ujjain’s chief conservator of forest BS Annigeri, who has been keeping tabs on the tiger for the past one year, said.

Annigeri said that the tiger was first spotted in the jungles spread around 40 sq km on Nagda hills near Dewas in January this year. Officials of the forest department tried to tranquilise it and though the dart hit the tiger, he escaped before the team could reach him.

“He is a very intelligent tiger and after the January incident, he has stayed well away from humans, quietly feeding and growing in the area,” Annigeri said.

He moved from Nagda hills to Manglia in Indore and then to Badnagar in Ujjain to Javasia village Badnawar in Dhar, across Sardarpur and into Petlawad in Jhabua. Officials said all these places have human habitation but he has managed to avoid any contact with humans.

“He has been travelling in a straight line along the banks on the Mahi river,” Annigeri said.

Forest officials said that for the most part of the year the male tiger spent his time in Nagda hills jungles, surviving on neelgais and pigs. But he has been on the move for the last fortnight and forest officials said that he is coming dangerously close to human habitations.

He was last spotted on Wednesday near Kasarbardi village in Petlawad tehsil of Jhabua district where he killed a cow. His photograph was also captured on the camera trap set up by the forest department and he has been in the vicinity for the past 40 hours or so.

Warnings have been issued to the villagers staying nearby to stay alert and not venture alone in the fields or go near nullahs where the tiger might come to drink water.

“He ate his kill last night and we are watching what he is up to. As of now, we have not decided what to do with the tiger,” Jhabua’s district forest official Rajesh Khare said.

The forest department has the option of tranquilising and relocating it, as they did with another male tiger prowling in the Dewas area in January 2016.

The origin of this tiger is not known but wildlife expert and consultant to the forest department Kartikeya Singh said that it most probably came from Ratapani after being displaced by dominant males there.

“By the looks of it, the tiger is shy and docile and does not go after humans. At present there is plenty of cover due to the crops, so he can stay hidden. But all this can change once the crops are cut or if he inadvertently comes in contact with humans,” Singh said.

Experts say tigers do not generally attack humans, but some believe they can acquire a taste for human flesh after an initial attack.

On their part, the forest officials are hoping that the tiger goes back to Nagda hills or even to Ratapani jungles and finds a mate.

The last estimation of 2014 reported 2,226 tigers in the country accounting for 70% of big cats in the wild in the world.

First Published: Dec 07, 2017 18:32 IST