Tiger ‘Zalim’ who reared orphan cubs found dead at Ranthambore national park
A 15-year-old male tiger named ‘Zalim’ who was famously known for rearing orphan cubs died of a suspected territorial fight in the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR) in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan.
This is the second tiger death this year: On January 2 in a rare instance a 12-year old tiger had killed a 15-year old tigress at Sajjangarh Biological Park in Udaipur. The tiger also known as ‘Kumar’ had barged into the enclosure of tigress ‘Damini’ and killed her.
Field Director, RTR, Manoj Parashar said the body of the tiger (T-25) was found in Sanwta village area of RTR on Monday. The post mortem has been conducted and the cause of death was suspected to be a territorial fight. The tiger’s head bones was crushed and canine marks are there.
He said it was suspected that he engaged in a fight with a 10-year-old male tiger T-66, who along with female tigress T-54 is moving in the same area. Parashar said that T-25’s movement was lately seen in Khandar area of the Reserve.
Zalim will be fondly remembered for rearing orphan twin cubs of T-5 tigress, who died in 2011. A forest official recalled that there was serious concern over the survival of the two female cubs, which were around three-months old at that time. It was then Zalim came into the picture and started protecting them from other tigers and animals. He used to stay close to them and even allowed to eat with him, which is a rare phenomenon, according to the official.
The cubs were than named Bina -1 and Bina-2 and later shifted to the Sariska Tiger Reserve. They are now known as ST-9 and ST-10.
In 2019, five tigers died in Rajasthan. In January, the body of 5-year-old Tiger T-85 aka ‘Pacman’ was found in Khandar range with severe injury marks; it was suspected that the animal got involved in a territorial fight. In October, 3-year-old Veeru (T-109) succumbed to injuries after a suspected fight with another 8-year-old tiger T-42, aka ‘Fateh’. In September, a lioness ‘Suzzanne’ suffering from Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), died at the Nahargarh Biological Park; than nine and half-month-old tiger cub and White Tigress, fondly known as ‘Sita’ died there.
Currently, RTR has around 65 tigers, which comprises 51 adults and 14 cubs.