There are stories and legends about Tigers we have heard from childhood, especially through the documentaries and wildlife books like the Jim Corbett stories. When someone visits a Tiger park for the first time, the Tiger is a mysterious and a majestic beast that is elusive and much sought after. One is always hoping and praying to come face to face with one. Words like “movement”, “footprints” and “alarm calls” become the buzzword as all the forces around us (read guides and drivers) do everything they can to show us this top predator. However once the same person visits that park a few times, then the Tiger does not remain just a “Tiger”, it becomes an identity, a name, someone who is as recognisable as our friends and family. Names like Munna, Bamera, Machali, Collarwali and Maya will immediately ring a bell with ardent Tiger lovers, for these are famous Tigers in their respective parks, who are no longer “Tigers” but have an identity of their own.
In this article we try to talk about some of the most regularly seen Tigers in the iconic Ranthambore national park. Here we talk only about the Tigers alive as on today, 16th June 2020, and not the ones gone by. Each of these Tigers occupies a certain area of the park (call it “territory” to sound more knowledgeable about Tigers) and defends that territory with all its might against other Tigers.
T19 or Krishna – Our list had to start with the first family of this park, and Krishna is the daughter of the legendary Tigress Machali, who is claimed to be the most photographed Tiger in the world. Like her mother, Krishna used to occupy the prime lake territory of Zone 3, but now has been pushed to zone 4 regions of Berda and Semli by her daughter Arrowhead, who is next on our list. As per reports, Krishna has recently given cubs which are likely to be visible to tourists post this monsoon.
T84 or Arrowhead – Arrowhead has to be amongst the most seen Tigers of Ranthambore currently. It occupies the famous lake territory of Ranthambore that has been her family stronghold. She has two sub-adult cubs who are on the verge of separation. I have been fortunate to see her hunting during her sub-adult days and seen her evolve from a 3 month old cub to the fierce Tigress she is today.
T39 or Noor – Noor is possibly the most photogenic and most regularly seen Tigress in Ranthambore today. She occupies a territory which overlaps Zone 2, Zone 1 and Zone 6. Last year I was fortunate to see her mate with a prime male called Kumbha, around Zone 6. Kumbha is next on our list. Her last litter has two female cubs Noorie and Sultana who are adults now and occupy similar territory as Noor.
T34 or Kumbha – One of the prime males of Ranthambore, Kumbha’s signature is his curved tail, I have never seen his tail straight like other Tigers. It dominates a territory overlapping Zone 6 and Zone 2 and has mated with prime Tigresses of the park like Noor and Laadli (T8) and has possibly fathered all the cubs of T8.
T57 or Aurangzeb – Small disclaimer, this Tiger has no blood relation with its namesake Mughal ruler, except that it is thought to be as fierce and imposing personality. Primarily seen around Zone 2, this is a beautiful male Tiger who is somewhat shy but seeing him walk the ramp (read forest track) is an affair to remember for your life.
T42 or Fateh – Easily the largest Tiger in tourism zones of Ranthambore, this beast has its abode in Zone 10. Though not seen for the last 3 months, officials believe he is still alive and has been pushed away from his territory by young Tigers. Even the strongest of hearts can skip a beat once they see this gentleman walking towards them, then there have been some (un)fortunate souls who have seen him charging towards them. While he has never killed a tourist, but a mock charge by this beast is enough for a weak heart to succumb. Did I mention I have been one of those to experience his mock charge!
T60 or Junior Indu – Regularly seen around Phootakot region of Zone 2, T60 has started giving regular appearances to tourists and is a big draw, especially with her cub. During the summers she is often seen occupying the waterhole, but somehow she has not been as glamorous as an Arrowhead or a Noor.
T8 or Laadli – The prime female of Zone 6, had two sons Jai and Veeru (If you think the names are filmy, then wait till we do our article on Tadoba) till last year, of which Veeru got killed in a fight with Fateh and Jai is claimed to be occupying Fateh’s territory in Zone 10 now. T8 has been primarily mating with T34 and has given many a appearances on the meadows of Zone 6 hills.
T41 or Laila – A Berda-Semli resident in Zone 4, T41 has been quite unpredictable as far as sightings go, but has held the same territory for many years now. She had multiple matings with the male T6, whose whereabouts are not known now.
T58 or Rocky – Like its name, it is often seen on the rocky terrains of Zone 6 like “Saran ka Patta” and others. He is the brother of T57.
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