In a first, Bannerghatta tigers fight for turf & to woo tigress

In a first, Bannerghatta tigers fight for turf & to woo tigress

Big cats from safari take on intruder from the wild to delight visitors, staff

Visitors and staff at the Bannerghatta Biological Park had once-in-a-lifetime experience on Wednesday: watching three tigers fighting for territory and to woo a tigress.

Two safari tigers — Suresh and Vishnu (aged around six to seven) — were jointly fighting a wild tiger of the same age. The roaring tigers started their fight in the early hours of Wednesday and remained locked in until 1.30 pm.

The wild tiger was spotted by the staff at least six times in the last one year. It was seen in and around the safari and rescue centre which abuts the national park boundary, but it never harmed anyone before, Santosh Kumar, Executive Director, BBP, told Deccan Herald. He recalled some visitors clicking the wild tiger’s photographs in the past.

On Wednesday, however, it was a different situation altogether. The tiger was openly challenging the safari male tigers which took up his challenge before long. “This is the first such fight for territory and a tigress between two safari tigers and a wild tiger,” Kumar said.

The bout
Though there had been instances of the wild tiger challenging the males in the rescue and safari areas besides making calls to the female tiger, staff said they did not recall such a ferocious fight taking place before.

The BBP staff’s efforts to cage the safari tigers failed as they were fully charged up and had turned ferocious. Vishnu and Suresh were fighting in tandem. If the staff tried to tame Vishnu, Suresh would get charged up. This continued for a long time, Kumar added.

Following the incident, the BBP is considering making the fence foolproof so that safari tigers and those from the wild do not move into each other’s territory. “They will not be able to cross each other’s territory, but we don’t want to take any chances,” Kumar said.

Staff on alert
There are 24 tigers in the BBP safari and rescue centre. The staff have been directed to stay alert to any untoward incident and to keep each other well informed of the movement and the sighting of the wild tiger. Visitors at the BBP were both surprised and shocked to witness this rare fight among tigers.

“I had seen tigers in the zoo and in safari roaring once in a while, but never witnessed such a protracted fight between the wild beasts,” said Vinod, a visitor.

Kumar said the safari had not been stopped. As the area where the fight took place was not in the designated route, many did not see it. “But a few who had gone on safari by jeep did witness it,” he said.
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