BANDHAVGARH TIGER RESERVE is one reserve which needs no introduction for Wildlife, and Tiger lovers. The reserve has been divided into tourism zones as below:
Core tourism zones: Tala (Premium zone), Magdhi, and Khitauli zone
Buffer tourism zones: Manpur, Panpatha, and Dhamokhar
The while idea of starting tourism in buffer area is to not only increase patrolling on these parts which were not regularly visited but also reduce tourism pressure on the three core zones. This has paid good dividends as Tigers located in the buffer area are also being sighted now.
Tala zone is oldest part of the park which offers beautiful landscape from grasslands to hilly terrains and it is the territories of four tigresses and they are known by area of their own established territories.
- Banbei female she has bit of challenge of survival being in the rocky habitat though the water is sufficient in the area but lack of prey makes it tougher. Hence she mainly preys on livestock of surrounding villages. She is the mother of one cub at present though she had two. One unfortunately got killed by the villagers. In the beginning of the tourist season between October 2014 to February2015 her sighting was not common, but after that her sighting was recorded every alternate day till the end of the season in June 2015.
- MIRCHANI female she was the mother of three male cubs from her previous litter. She started losing them from last season. One disappeared and then an accident took place during the rainy season in the month of August when the second cub got killed by a male tiger in a territorial fight. Third one disappeared most likely got killed in a territorial fight. She has been facing this challenge since there is has lack of a dominant male in the area. Younger males have created a bit of mess in her territory. Luckily she has been seen throughout the season and finally became the mother again with new litter of cubs. Her new cubs have not been seen by tourists yet, but we anticipate good sightings of them once the park opens in October 2015.
- RAJBAHARA female – she is also known as ‘lady of rocks’. Tourists to the park want to see her walking on the wall of Rajbahara anicut. She is one of the most photographed Tigress by the photographers. Her habitat is very picturesque providing good cover of Sal forest and huge grasslands known as King’s meadow. If you are in this part of the park then spend some time just being at Rajbahara dam and enjoying the panoramic beauty of the area. She has been seen thorughout the season mostly alone, but occasionally with her older cubs from the previous litter. But she has the divine gift of mother nature as she again gave litter to 4 cubs like her previous litter.
- Chakradhara female this particular meadow of chakradhara has seen many Tigresses bring up their litter. Initially it was the territory of the Legendary Sita who put Bandhavgarh on world map alongwith Charger and then her daughter Chakradhara and then chorbahara or ‘langri’ and ‘kankati’. Finally it became home to Rajbahara’s offspring. She is very elusive, and rare to see because she faced hard times while establishing her territory, therefore she adopted the habit of being shy.
- Male of the Tala zones. There is lot of pressure on the families (Tigresses and their cubs) due to the frequent visits of the new males. Bhagora is from Rajbahara female. He is about seven years old. Second one is from Magadhi who is very shy. Third one is from Langri’s, he is also seven years old. There are three males in this part trying to be dominant of Tala zone but still fighting for it.
- Magadhi has been the pick of all zones this year due to the Tiger sightings. This zone has accommodated the offspring of Rrajbahara which are about four years old. In the beginning of the season all four of them were seen together almost daily. Later during the summer two of them became inhabitant of ‘Tadoba’ an artificial water hole which has been made as in Tadoba national park hence the name.
From the entrance upto Sukha dam this particular area is the territory of Mahaman female. She had a litter of four cubs. Now they have separated from the family and the mother is expecting a new litter of cubs. Till the end of the season we could not get the news of the new cubs.
- Rajbahara female is also using some part of Magadhi as her territory mainly the Kandi Pani and Ssehara meadow as she has been seen several times in this area.
- Sukhi Patiha female- Sukhi female had litter two female cubs, as of now they are sharing their mother’s territory and will hopefully settle in this area in future. At present Sukhi Patiha female is mother of three new cubs of one year age. They have been seen throughout the season by almost all tourists in this zone.
- Males of magadhi there are three to four males in the area. Main ones are Bhagora, Blue eyed, Mukunda male and BT. This is a smaller zone unable to handle more males, hence it is tough to see Male tigers in this zone.
Khitauli is drier and has bamboo forest mainly as it is quite popular for all diverse variety of fauna species. Specially for blue-bull (nillgai) Wild dogs, Chinkara, (Indian gazelle), Sloth bear, Leopard and yes the Tiger.
There are two Tigresses and two male Tigers in this area where tourists are allowed. In total there must be about 10-12 tigers including core and tourism area. As mentioned about two Tigresses, one of them has a litter of three cubs which are grown up, nearly two years old. And the second one she has recently got a new littler of four cubs and they are aobut 6 months now. Males of the area; first one is known as “Bheem” has huge size and is very bold. The second one is shy, rarely seen. But whenever he is seen has a unique character of doing mock charges on jeeps.
All four of these tigers have been seen throughout the season in winter. Earlier they were not commonly seen, the reason one can attribute isregular tourism in the area. And with advent of summer they were sighted close to the water holes.