BENGALURU: The lone tiger in Bannerghatta National Park is worried and angry that it has not found a mate still. Even the forest officials are worried. And, in earnest, they are trying to do some match-fixing!
This big cat has the largest area as its territory when compared to any other of his friends in Bandipur, Nagarhole or any other tiger reserves in the state. While he has all the luxury of a large prey base and large wandering area to make his home, he does not have a mate.
Since he is alone, he is drawn to the scent of tigresses staying in Bannergatta safari and zoo area, located on the fringes of the national park. But he has had no luck. The well-barricaded enclosures give him no room to enter. This leaves him roaring loud and for long hours, which attracts and scares visitors to the zoo.
“Some times his calls are so loud that staffers patrolling on the ground are able to track him only because of his roaring. This had recently happened at Raggihalli hillock, where he was found sitting roaring. Otherwise, the animal is elusive. He was last sighted at Harohalli range. His pug marks, scratch and dung are regularly found,” a Bannerghatta National Park official said.
Worried for the male, the forest department is now thinking of ways to find him a companion. They are thinking of translocating a female to Bannerghatta National Park when next time there is a translocation. However, staffers are aware of the consequences and rules.
“We understand the plight of the six-year-old male. According to the Wildlife Protection Act and rules, first preference to relocate the animal is the home range or the nearby area itself. So for getting a female to BNP, permission from the National Tiger Conservation Authority will be essential. Besides, we will also have to see if the forest patch, closest to Bengaluru City, is a safe habitat for tigers or not,” a forest official said.
Ideally, a tiger should have at least 10 12 sqkm as its territory. In case of tigers in Bandipur and Nagarhole, tigers have a territory of 5-6 sqkm. This is because of the high population and large prey base. In places like Bhadra and Kali tiger reserves, tigers mark their territory of 12- 15 sqkm. But the lone male in Bannerghatta has 260.51 sqkm as his territory.
This tiger was first sighted in BNP in 2015. Since then he has not left the territory. He wanders alone and free till the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and till Tamil Nadu. But these wanderings seemed to have not helped him find a fairy-tail ending!