As most of parks are now closed for next 3 months, we review sightings in some prominent tiger parks of India

Season Round Up

As most of the national parks have closed out for the next three months to soak in the Indian monsoons, here is a re-look at the recent sightings in the major Tiger parks of the country!
With the famous Indian monsoons beating down a frenzy of heavy downpour through the entire season, the dense forests here and their inhabitants are best left alone during that time. Consecutively, much to the disappointment of the true jungle lover, the National Parks in India close out for visitors for the three monsoon months of July, August and September as they have right now.
SO, first, a ray of hope for our readers with the information on the re-opening schedule of the parks for the next season. While the Ranthambhore National Park would be the first one to reopen on the 1st of October 2014, Bandhavgarh and other Madhya Pradesh parks will re-open from 15th of October 2014. Jim Corbett, on account of prolonged rains would re-open only on the 15th of November. If you still cannot hold your breath and are finding it difficult to wait till the re-opening time to explore the jungle and say hello to Mr Tiger, you can visit the TAR road in Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra that remains open during monsoons for tourists. You can also try your luck with Ranthambhore Zone 6-10 and Zhirna zone at Corbett and see if you do find the striped cat indulging in the monsoon fervour!
Now for a re-cap of the last season’s sightings. Though most of the parks had a reasonably good sighting season, some of them did have an average show. However, by the end of the season there were bumper sightings in most of the parks across the country and it made up for the slow start, if anywhere.
Ranthambhore was echoing with the purrs of a large number of cubs from the various adults and their carefree activities made the sighting season rich and delightful. Both the park favourites T39 and T19 decided to raise their new litter in the tourist zone giving the visitors an exciting sneak peak into the tiger life. Sub adult cubs from previous litters along with the orphan cubs of T17 kept the number of sightings rolling in. The legendary Machli also contributed her fair share by catching up with the visitors a number of times. Needless to say, the shutterbugs had a delightful time and indulged in some awe-inspiring photo shoots of the striped beauty.
Bandhavgarh, yet another important tiger park of the country made an anxious start to the season with the news of a new male entering Tala zone and defeating Bamera. Loss of two Kankati cubs (each of the either sex) was an equal dampener as was the complete loss of Banbehi’s fresh litter. Most of the veterans had predicted the end of Bamera reign and his clan. Kankatis continued absence from Chakradhara was giving it a deserted look. However, the park surprised everyone with the cubs of Rajbehara and Mirchaini  and increased the sightings count. The end of the season brought in the good news of Kankati raising yet another litter of three cubs soaring all hopes.  Re-appearance of a male cub from her previous litter was also a great up lifter.
The Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Central India had its own graph of highs and lows this sighting season. Most of the areas in the park were closed for tourist activities and sightings were mainly restricted to the Pandher Pauni area of the park. The ever changing park rules and a fresh levy of camera fee on tourist with long lenses could not still deter the tourists from visiting the park to catch their favourite cat in action. By the end of the season, the forest department gave a respite and decided to open some of the prominent areas that were earlier closed down like Katezari, Vasan Vandhara, Wagdoh. Naturally, that resulted in an increased number of sightings. However, the joy of being seen shifting her two cubs by her mouth brought by Maya, one of the famous Pandher Pauni siblings, was short lived as she later seemed to have lost both of them.
Not having said all, the undisputed star of the show was the Corbett National Park in the hill state of Uttaranchal. Stealing all the lime light, it delivered what can be perhaps called the best sighting season in the distant history of the park. A tigress and her four cubs in Bijrani zone were the star attraction of the park giving almost daily sightings and leaving the visitors smitten. Dhikala zone was also booming with sightings of multiple tiger families with the most prominent ones of these being the Thandi Sarak family, Gairal tigress with her cubs and the Palm tigress. With so many sightings delighting the visitors all the way, Corbett sure was back with a bang after a dull last year!
That was most on the tiger sightings in the season that has just gone by. In our next edition of park round up, we would share our analysis on power dynamics and sighting scenarios post monsoons for these tiger parks. Stay tuned! 

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