Hyderabad: A mini tiger population boom might be in the offing in Telangana, particularly in the erstwhile Adilabad district with at least four tigresses making the forests in the area, including Kawal Tiger Reserve, their home.
The forests surrounding Kagaznagar is home to Phalguna, a tigress that first migrated from Maharashtra and in the past five years gave birth to a total of eight cubs. Currently, in the eastern part of the erstwhile Adilabad district, the forests have become home not just to Phalguna, but two other female cubs of hers, who are believed to have reached a breeding age of two years.
Monitoring of the resident tigresses and the tigers visiting from Maharashtra indicates that there might be some good additions to the numbers of the wild animal in the district, it is learnt. While the number of tigers in the district is believed to be about six, this could vary given some tigers moving constantly between the two states. The erstwhile Adilabad district has the potential to accommodate anywhere between 25 to 30 tigers, according to a Forest Department official.
A third female cub born to Phalguna, K4, famous for the poacher’s snare around its abdomen, is believed to be too much under stress to even attempt breeding. A fourth breeding-age female is said to be in the buffer area of the Kawal reserve to the south of the district.
The competition for the affections of a female could be fierce, a source said. In fact, this is believed to have played out recently when a four-year-old male, which migrated into Telangana from Maharashtra, reportedly drove out a much younger K7, a male from Phalguna’s second litter, out of its range. K7 has since moved into Maharashtra where it is being monitored by forest officials there. The male, which migrated from Maharashtra, is much larger than K7 and could have easily driven the younger one out of its territory, a source said. It was the male who drove out K7, which was photographed by bus passengers crossing a road in the Bejjur forest area on Friday.
Interestingly, Phalguna, is believed to have crossed over into Maharashtra, where she first came from, in search of mate for both her litters. Once she conceived, she came back to the safety of her territory. According to an official, two teams of 15 persons were continuously monitoring the movements of every tiger in the district to ensure their safety. The erstwhile Adilabad is currently believed to be home to about six tigers, two males and four females, with some more crisscrossing the borders between Maharashtra and Telangana every now and then.