The curious case of Bannerghatta's lonely tiger

The lone tiger, first sighted in BNP in 2015, has not left the 104.25 sq km forest patch since. Representational photo

A lonely wild tiger is keeping the officials of the Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) occupied.

Worried about the big cat wandering in wilderness, the staffers are now trying to study its travel patterns and search of companionship. They believe this will help the department and researchers know more about the national animal.

The tiger in question is crucial for the ecology of Bengaluru and its surroundings, as the BNP is the potential habitat to house flagship species in future. According to the forest department, the study is also important in the wake of the tiger census report being finalised.

The lone male tiger was first sighted in the BNP in July, 2015. Since then, the animal has not left the 104.25 sq km forest patch, located 22 km from city central. The department has documented the pug marks and stripe pattern to ascertain if there are signs of more tigers. But the results have been negative.

“All tests have shown that there is only one male tiger in BNP. Though the animal is healthy with sufficient food and water, we are trying to find out where it wanders in search of a mate. The tiger could be travelling to the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary or the neighbouring forests of Tamil Nadu. Tigers are known to travel long distances. Thus, there is a curiosity to know its path,” said BNP Deputy Conservator of Forests, Suresh.

BNP staffers recollect there are have been instances when there were no sightings of the carnivore for days together. They wonder if that could be the time when the tiger has wandered to different habitats. But since tigers are territorial, the curiosity has only heightened.

The wild tiger is not allowed to interact with the tigresses of the Bannerghatta zoo. But there have been several instances when the animal was sighted wandering near the zoo enclosures, searching for a way to gain entry. The department has thus given importance to the study. The presence of the tiger has been documented in all ranges and terrains of the national park.

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The curious case of Bannerghatta's lonely tiger

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