Three-year-old Tiger’s 1,500 km night walk creates record

This is the longest ever recorded movement of a tiger in India monitored using a radio-collar, said Nitin Kakodkar, principal chief conservator of forest, Maharashtra forest department.
Three-year-old male sub-adult tiger (T1-C1).(ANI Photo)
Three-year-old male sub-adult tiger (T1-C1).(ANI Photo)
Updated on Dec 27, 2019 05:37 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By, Mumbai

The three-year-old male sub-adult tiger (T1C1), which travelled 1,300 km across six districts and four wildlife sanctuaries in Maharashtra and Telangana over 150 days in search of new territory till December 2, has covered an additional 200 km within Maharashtra in less than a month.

This is the longest ever recorded movement of a tiger in India monitored using a radio-collar, said Nitin Kakodkar, principal chief conservator of forest, Maharashtra forest department.

Hindustan Times reported on December 2, that Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun and the Maharashtra forest department have been tracking the tiger’s movement from Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Yavatmal district since June as the animal made his way into the Dnyanganga Sanctuary in Buldhana.

“Now T1C1 has further moved from Dnyanganga to Ajanta hilly regions spread across Aurangabad in Jalna district covering over 1,500 km since he began his journey from Tipeshwar in June. In fact, the tiger has also begun moving southwards from Ajanta as well, further moving to newer areas,” said Kakodkar. “The exact reason for this fast paced movement by the animal is still unclear. We are constantly monitoring this and once the animal sets up his territory, we will have more answers.”

Using this study, WII and forest department, under their research — Studying dispersal of tigers across the Eastern Vidarbha Landscape, Maharashtra — identified and validated the presence of tiger corridors inside and outside protected forest areas.

Independent experts said there could be five reasons as to why the tiger has moved this fast over 180 days — in search of territory, if a dominant male is chasing them, looking for a mate, in search of water, and to find a new prey base.

“The most probable reason is to find a new territory for this tiger across these pockets of forests in the central Indian landscape as he is moving very fast. The animal is travelling only during the night,” said Jerryl Banait, a wildlife conservationist who has been closely monitoring tigers in this region. “Male tigers need 60-80 sq. km to form their territory.”

Two tigers — T1C1 and T1C3 — both born to tigress T1 around December 2016 in Tipeshwar, were radio-collared by researchers Bilal Habib and Parag Nigam from WII on February 25 and 27. “T1C1 moved from Pandharkawda division in June and entered Adilabad through Ambadi ghat and Kinwat forests. He spent considerable time across interstate forests of Adilabad and Nanded divisions during August and September,” said Govekar. Subsequently, the tiger entered Painganga sanctuary for a brief period, and in October T1C1 went to Isapur sanctuary. In the last week of October, 2019, he entered Hingoli district of Marathwada area.

“It’s worth noting that the tiger, while crossing hundreds of villages, agricultural fields and habitations, did not enter into any conflict with humans except isolated instances of cattle kills that he made for survival and unavoidable incidence of human attack when the villagers approached close to the tiger in Hingoli,” said Ravikiran Govekar, field director, Pench Tiger Reserve.

T1C1 entered Akola division in early November, Dyanganga during the first week of December, and is now in areas around Ajanta in Aurangabad .


    Badri Chatterjee is an environment correspondent at Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He writes about environment issues - air, water and noise pollution, climate change - weather, wildlife - forests, marine and mangrove conservation

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