JAIPUR: It's an all-time record for Ranthambore National Park. Within an year, 18 cubs were born in the park to various tigresses. Officials say that the figure is a magical one and that such a mark has been set for the first time.
The latest tigress to add to the celebrations was T-19, which was spotted taking a stroll in the Nalghati area of the park with three of its cubs. This is the first litter of the tigress in the park.
Speculations have been rife on the motherhood of T-19 after tourism minister Bina Kak during one of her visits to the park spotted the tigress with an enlarged mammary gland. The signs were indicative of her having littered though officially it is only after a sighting of cubs that a confirmation of their birth is given. On last Wednesday, the tigress was seen with three cubs.
So far, tigress T-5, which eventually died, has given birth to two cubs along with tigresses T-13, T-31 and T-8. Tigresses T-11, T-19 and T-26 have three cubs each.
"T-19 is the offspring of one of the most famous tigress of the park, Machli or the Jhalra tigress. T-19 is from one of her litters that saw three cubs and all were females. The cubs eventually grew up to T-17, T-18 and T-19. While T-17 occupies the Rajbagh and Padam Talab areas, T-18 has been relocated to Sariska while T-19 occupies the Nalghati area," said an official.
Officials are excited on the development. "T-19 is from a non-tourism zone. The sighting of her three cubs not only takes the total number of births at the park in the past year to magical figures of 18 cubs but this would increase the chances of tourism at the zone," he added. The cubs are about two-and-a-half to three months old. Tigresses do not bring out their cubs in the open till they are about 3 to 4 months old and it is only after this that they venture out with their mother.
Officials felt that the baby boom at the park serve a perfect answer to those conservationists who have been crying foul on the move of relocating tigers from a breeding population to Sariska. They claimed this had hampered the chances of breeding among tigers at Ranthambore. Last year, the park failed to see any cubs being born.
"It just so happened that there was a year where no births took place. But the very fact that we have so many newborns this year suggest that the population of tigers have not been disturbed despite the fact that some of the tigers were relocated to Sariska," said an official.