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Prep Before Cheetahs Become Free Ranging In Kuno National Park

  When another male cheetah, Obaan,joined the two rock stars – Freddie and Elton -- in yet another bigger enclosure of Kuno national park on November 18, only five female cheetahs remained in smaller bomas in the park where they were released on September 17. Like the three males, the five female spotted cats will also be released soon in larger bomas to run and chase their prey to kill. India’s  wildlife authorities accompanied by the experts from the cheetah conservation fund (CCF) from Namibia   have been taking utmost care and caution  before the  cheetahs in Kuno are ultimately made “free -ranging” meaning released in open to move around the entire length and breadth of the park. “Free ranging cheetahs and their monitoring  will be like a grand finale of the Project Cheetah to be played in Kuno for a longer  period in the coming years'", said a senior official of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFC&C).  Apprehensions, Concerns  on Chee

Like Her Mother in Pench, Patdev Tigress delivers 5 cubs

Pench tiger reserve is celebrating the birth of five cubs thesedays. And this has happened after a long gap of almost 11 years. Wildlife lover were enthralled  when they first spotted T4  nicknamed Patdev moving around with her cubs,delivered some time in November last year. The majestic feline seems to be following the path of   her mother, the celebrated tigress-Collarwalli. The mom, still the most popular tigress of Pench, has  so far delivered 29 cubs in her 17 years’ of life, a record of sorts. With her fourth litter of 5 cubs, T4 has till now delivered 16 cubs. Will she be as fertile as Collarwalli? Wildlife experts answer in affirmative. She can as she is just 11- year of age.  

The Crown Princess of Pench

Patdev was born in 2010 to Rayakassa male and Collarwalli from her third litter with 5 cubs. After marking her area , T4 settled down in the northeastern side of Kalapahad.  But she also started dominating in about a 30 sq km area  including the southeastern side of the jungle and the parts of the park around after an incident of poisoning of Baginnallah tigress, making T4 as one of the strongest big cats of the jungle.She got her name as Patdev after a jungle patch where  she  was  first spotted. T4 delivered her first litterof 4 cubs in 2014. This was followed by another litter of four cubs in 2017 and three cubs in 2019. In 2020, she delivered 5 cubs on November 30, park directorVikram Singh Parihar said. In fact, T4 delivered cubs  a month after rumours in the park about  the pregnancy of her mother-Collarwalli. Her bulging stomach – stuffed after eating a kill- created the  impression,a  forest guard in the park said

Also read: World Awaits Another ‘Good News’ fromCollarwali of Pench

“Her fertility was also  one of the reasons why people thought she was pregnant again”, the guard said. Now the monsoon is approaching, T4 has to really work hard to feed her five cubs. Though she doesn’t have one canine that she lost in a fight in the jungle, Patdev has to continuously hunt for about a year to feed the five cubs. “T4 is verystrong and kills big animals like Sambhar despite the fact that she lives withjust three canines”, a forest  ranger said. All her five cubs are  hale  and hearty and are seen  moving with their mom. The park director clicked  many pictures of the family, especially near a water body where she brought  her cubsto  quench the thirst . 

Legacy of Badi Mada and Collarwali

T4 is the third  generation of Badi Mada, yet another famous tigress of Pench. Collarwalli and  her sibling Langdi were born to Badi Mada. Then Pench was populated with more cats by Collarwalli and Langdi. Their progeny are spread all over the region including Maharashtra, Kanha national park , Satpura tiger reserve and in the Kanha- Pench corridor. 

Also read: Wire Snares in Maharashtra Jungles Sound Alert

Now T4 is shouldering the responsibility  and is one of themost fertile tigresses of Pench. There are an estimated 30 cubs in Pench.Besides, there are about 50 to 60  adult big cats in the tiger reserve, a haven for wildlife tourism and those who want to indulge in wildlife photography. Though barely a month is left when the park will be closed downfor monsoon, tourists throng the park to have glimpses of T4 and her cubs.  When the park is opened again in October, the cubs would be about 9-month of age and would  have learnt more life lessons to survive in the jungle.

Photos : Vikram Singh Parihar, director Pench tiger reserve


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