The subadult tiger, TWLS-T1-C1 of Tipeshwar sanctuary in Yavatmal district, who was radio-collared on 27th March 2019, has now reached Dnyanganga Sanctuary in Buldana district, after crossing over 1300 Km long distance in about 5 months, after he left Tipeshwar sanctuary in June 2019. T1-C1 was born in Tipeshwar to resident Female TWLS-T1 somewhere in late 2016. He has two male siblings C2 and C3.
All three cubs were separated from the mother during early 2019. As a part of long term tiger monitoring and dispersal studies undertaken by Maharashtra Forest Department in collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, (Studying the dispersal of tigers across the eastern Vidarbha Landscape), C3 was radio-collared on 25th March, 2019 and C1 was radio-collared on 27 March 2019 by the team of WII, Dehradun led by Dr Parag Nigam & Dr Bilal Habib and Field Director, Pench Tiger Reserve.
The purpose of the study was to monitor the dispersal pattern of the sub-adults which are normally in the process of exploring new areas to set up their territory. After initial movements inside Tipeshwar, C3 and C1 started exploring adjoining Pandharkawda division and bordering Telangana area. In mid-July, 2019, C3 migrated to Telangana and went very close upto Adilabad town, but instead of settling down there, he returned back to Tipeshwar within about ten days. He has settled now in Tipeshwar.
In June 2019, C1 moved out along the corridor identified by a joint survey of Pench tiger reserve, Adilabad division, Nanded Division, and FDCM Kinwat in May 2019. After crossing Pandharkawda division, he entered the Adilabad division and through Ambadi ghat & Kinwat forests. He spent considerable time across interstate forests of Adilabad & Nanded divisions during August & September. He subsequently entered the Painganga sanctuary for a brief period. Afterward, in October C1 moved out and went to Pusad division and then Isapur sanctuary. In the last week of October 2019, C1 entered in Hingoli district of Marathwada area. With regular movements along mostly forested patches and water streams, and negotiating large agricultural fields left Hingoli and entered Washim district. Tiger, now about 3 years old, entered Akola division in early November and in Buldhana district in late November.
After reaching close to Chikhali and Khamgaon, on 1 st December, the Tiger has finally made his way into another well managed PA, Dnyanganga Sanctuary. Field Director Melghat Tiger reserve Shri M. S. Reddy who confirmed that the satellite location obtained is from inside the Dnyanganga sanctuary. Since Dnyanganga is a well-managed wildlife area, having a good prey base, it is expected that the tiger may spend some time here and explore the area. He is just about 50 km from the Melghat landscape.
It’s worth noting that, the tiger while traveling more than 1300 km distance, crossing hundreds of villages, agricultural fields and habitations in 6 districts in two states, so far has not entered into any conflict with humans except the cattle kills that he made for survival and an isolated avoidable incidence of human attack when the villagers approached very close to the tiger in Hingoli district. It is worth noting that another subadult tiger from Tipeshwar (2016), has been a camera trapped in Kawal tiger reserve in January 2019 by Telangana Forest Department. Also the third cub, C2, which was not radio-collared, has also covered considerable distance and was reported from Painganga sanctuary.
The dispersal of T1C1, T1C2, and T1C3 and the 2016 subadult tiger all across the landscape indicates that Tipeshwar is a potential source area and tigers need more space in the landscape and tigers may have to cover much longer distances and cross the human-dominated, non-forested landscapes in the pursuit of its new territory and the mates, much beyond our traditional understanding. It also underlines the right step taken by MFD & WII by starting a long term monitoring of the project of tigers using Radio-collars.
During this entire period, all the filed formations including teams under DFO WL Pandharkawda, DCF Pandharkawda, DFO Adilabad, DM FDCM Kinwat, DCF Pusad, Washim, Akola & Buldhana and DFO Hingoli worked in close coordination under the supervision of Field Director Pench Tiger Reserve and scientists Wildlife Institute of India under the overall guidance of PCCF, Wildlife Maharashtra State Shri Nitin Kakodkar and APCCF, Wildlife East Nagpur Shri B S Hooda. This exercise further underlines the need for systematic, scientific and coordinated tiger monitoring at a landscape level irrespective of the state or district boundaries. The long term monitoring project led by WII Scientists will continue and is expected to throw more light on many unknown things about tiger dispersal.