6 cubs born in Manguraha Range of Valmiki Tiger Reserve

Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) is one of the nature's virgin recesses in east India and is situated in the North-West corner of the State of Bihar. The pristine forests and wilderness of VTR is an excellent example of Himalayan Terai landscape. Manguraha with an area of 101.71 sq.km. is the easternmost range of VTR. To the north is Chitwan national park of Nepal, to the east is Parsa Wildlife sanctuary interspersed with settlements and east is Gobardhana range of VTR. River Pandai divides the range in 2 parts, the northern part and the southern part. The vegetation here consists of Dry Siwalik Sal Forest and Moist Mixed Deciduous forest. Manguraha has good prey density of chital, sambar, nilgai and wild boar. Not very long ago, it was claimed that VTR had no source population of tigers and that tigers dispersed from Chitwan into VTR. Recent camera trap findings have however, proved otherwise. Manguraha has been recently (May) blessed with 2 litters of 3 cubs each, born to tigresses T-3 and T-4. The news was confirmed by tiger trekkers very early, based on behavioural patterns of the tigresses. Pugmarks of cubs were also obtained by early July. However, the mother tigresses are so protective that efforts at camera trapping the cubs, so far had not succeeded. This was also not helped by the fact that owing to rainy season, cameras could not be regularly deployed. The cubs are all now 3â…Ÿ2 to 4 months old. One of the female cubs of T-3 was recently (29th July) mauled by another tigress. That leaves 5 cubs, still very encouraging for local staff. The reserve was rated "very good" by NTCA in its Management Effectiveness Evaluation report of 2014 of all 43 tiger reserves in India. From 8 tigers (reported) in 2010 to about 28 as per last estimation of 2014, the only tiger reserve in the state is blooming. Thanks to habitat management and 24X7 protection model in place, the reserve, has shown how things could be turned around, with better management practices and a bit of luck.

In 2013 also 5 cubs were born to these tigresses, 2 to T-4 and 3 to T-3. One cub of T-3 was killed by male tiger T-1. The rest 4 were lucky enough to survive. The then cubs of T-4, now almost 2 years old, are now on their own. They moved west. The female sub-adult has settled in adjoining Gobardhana range while male has moved farther. The cubs of T-3 moved east. For about 2 months, both male and female young ones (now 21 months old) after having separated early from their mother, tried their luck in Manpur forests which has good chital population. Kills made by them were regularly reported, indicating that they had matured quickly. However, the male was frequently chased by his father T-1 and is now trying to establish its own territory in adjoining Parsa sanctuary of Nepal. It keeps on occasionally coming back to Manpur area. The female has almost settled in Manpur, though it keeps on crossing Pandai now and then. It too visits Parsa at times. With 4 sub-adult/ adult resident tigers and 5 cubs, Manguraha is roaring these days. Tourists visiting Manguraha this winter may hope to catch glimpse of one of these.