625 – Hurray for Dads and Mums

Keep your kerchiefs out to dry your tears. This happened in the Ranthambore National Park.

A very ill tigress raised three cubs. It is unusual because she kept them with her for four years. The law of the jungle dictates that cubs leave their mum, by then the time they are two. What happened here?

The tigress was called T5. She was spotted nursing her cubs and she did not mind the tourists looking and photographing her. She was seen again and she was observed to be in some discomfort. Her backbone was arched and her rectum was swollen. There is a lake at the sanctuary and all animals come to drink there. Her cubs were spotted at the lake and they were calling out to her. The cubs had blood on their paws, and it was also dripping out of their mouth.

Now they were too young to eat prey. Their mother arrived and she went into a thicket and fed them prey which she had killed. The forest rangers tranquillized her and she was given medicine. What was amazing was that she bit the kill, she had caught into tiny pieces for the cubs. Then after a couple of days she came to the ranger’s guard house at night and roared her heart out. She was found dead the next morning.

She had left the cubs close to the guard house on a densely covered hillside. It was as if she was telling them, take care of the cubs. She had weaned them off, because she had stopped lactating on account of her illness. Now the clubs were ambling about, looking for their mum. The rangers were searching for them and it took four days to locate them. They were healthy and were found near the water hole.

The large male tiger Zalim

The rangers were in a dilemma. The cubs were at risk and they could not be caught as they were in an area which was rocky and steep. Fortunately, it was not accessible to hyenas and jackals, their predators. The cubs would visit the lake and they looked taken care of. The security camera revealed that they were accompanied by a large male tiger.

His name is Zalim (T25) which means a cruel person. The cubs were seen sharing the water hole with him. He was their dad and this is the first time a tiger dad has been seen taking care of his cubs in the absence of their mum. More photographs revealed the cubs playing with him and cuddling up to him. The male cubs stayed a little away from him, but the female was biting his tale and teasing him.

The cubs were four years old and have been raised well. They know how to kill the live bait. They move about freely in the area of their birth. Zalim comes to visit them regularly and they run to greet him as they would their mum.

First time in history

This is the first time such behavior has been recorded in the history of the Tigers anywhere in the world. The cubs go for territorial walks with Zalim. Zalim has intimidated female tigresses who could hurt the cubs. It proves that the male tiger has a role in the development of their cubs.

Both Shiva and Parvati loved the tiger. Shiva is lord of all animals and he wore a magical tiger skin which was from an illusionary tiger. Parvati’s mount is a tiger. The tiger represents the destructive power of the Mother Goddess which destroys all evil.

It is a lesson to us to be good parents and responsibility is to be shared by both male and females.

Aim Hrim Klim


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