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Maternal Love

by Tadoba Store
Maternal Love

Two-three years back, the Alizanja buffer area was under the dominion of the formidable male tiger, T-138 Mowgli. Tigress T-20 Jharni was his mate, blessed with three cubs.

All seemed serene until the intrusion of T-126, Chota Matka, the dominant male of Tadoba. His arrival posed a formidable challenge to Mowgli's reign and a daunting threat to Jharni's cubs.
Despite their efforts to evade Chota Matka, the
inevitable clash of strength ensued. Mowgli succumbed, ceding his territory to the interloper. Chota Matka, relentless in his pursuit, targeted Jharni's cubs.
Despite her valiant attempts, the tigress could save only one cub. The intruder killed the other two.
Left with no choice, Jharni led Chota Matka away from her surviving cub, leading him to the Ramdegi temple area where they engaged in a week-long mating ritual, their roars echoing through the forest.

Meanwhile, the lone cub, barely seven months old and incapable of hunting, remained concealed, evoking concern among us.
Following the culmination of the mating period, Chota Matka departed for other territories, allowing Jharni to embark on her journey back to her cub.
I vividly recall that day, as safari vehicles congregated at the Ramdegi Temple, anticipating a
glimpse of the mating pair.
Yet, I chose to explore further afield alone, and fortune smiled upon me. At Kojbachi Gadad water body, I spotted Jharni, her wearied form finding respite in the water before embarking on her quest to reunite with her cub.

Traversing over three kilometers, Jharni arrived at Kinhichua water body, her maternal instincts guiding her. Though I couldn't discern the cub initially, Jharni's distinct calls drew forth a pale response from the undergrowth. To my astonishment and elation, the cub emerged, visibly frail yet galvanized by the sight of its mother. Rushing toward her, the cub's tender gesture, akin to a kiss, stirred my soul. Jharni, in
turn, showered her offspring with affectionate licks, showing the enduring bond of motherhood.

In the years that followed, the cub thrived, maturing into an adult tigress, eventually venturing into the Navegaon area. Jharni, steadfast in her domain, continues to reign, while Chota Matka retains his undisputed dominance in the buffer zone


- Kishor Kumbhre

Guide, Alizanja Gate

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