Ranthambore National Park is the name that has been in the public eye since 1991 when it was being enlarged by including Sawai Man Singh and Keladevi Sanctuary; and was considered as the most popularized reserve under the Tiger Project in Sawai Madhopur area in Rajasthan. The area which was once only allowed for the Maharajas of Jaipur bringing them to the hunting grounds to play with their chivalry acts and hunting braveries is today the charm of many wildlife experts and photographers.
Interestingly, Ranthambore has a special figure on the mind of many wildlife enthusiasts and the main reason behind its supreme fame is the presence of most popular tigers. The tigers of Ranthambore that show most unusual behavior and human like acts attract tremendous tiger lovers all around the vicinity in a thirst to catch their enigmatic movements and behaviors.
Usually the most achieving part of Ranthambore is that their favorite residents are quite known by their names only. Out of which some of them are so popular that they are being nick-named as Machali, Sitara, Dollar, Sundari and so on depending upon their notable marks and strip patterns on their bodies.
In Ranthambore, every tiger has its own unique story and thanks to the great efforts of naturalists and Ranthambore officials & guides that we too came to know about India’s greatest assets in the form of Ranthambore tigers in a quite interesting manner.
Since many years, the jungle officials and the wildlife experts are experimenting on them and have gone through tremendous trials as per their behaviors are concerned. The magnanimous chivalry acts of Machali to win her territory and winning over the giant crocodile is a legend in the history of Ranthambore. Similarly, Dollar, the T-25 tiger has been famed as the dominant tiger of his territory (in the Kachida region) and as a proud father who adopted his two female cubs (Bina1 & Bina2 who are now the crowns of Sariska) as a sincere father and brought their upbringing; unusual to the behavior of a male tiger in general, who kills his own cub out of hunger. Like Dollar and Machali, the T-16 tigress, who is being nominated as the queen of the Ranthambore there are many such celebrity tigers that bring the wildlife lovers the enthusiastic approach towards Sawai Madhopur.
And now, adding more spices to this curry, yet another experiment has amazed the world of wildlife when with several trials a wining situation has gripped the interest in Ranthambore tigers to greater extent and that too about their sex ratio. It is being a generally accepted fact that that the best male to female ratio for tigers is 1:3, but in Ranthambore, quite amazed to find the fact that the ratio is 1:1.
To make it more clear, male tigers in a particular territory can be found mating with three female tigers but as we stated earlier, Ranthambore tigers are quite exceptional and like humans (quite amazing but true) can be found mating with only one female tiger from the past many years. Not only are these tigers breeding well, except for some lull periods but the fights for the territory are also minimal in many cases and have not found any jeopardized situation in the territory. And perhaps this could be the cause for the increase in their counts in Ranthambore where at present 25 male tigers and 22 female tigers are ruling. Amongst them there are 12 full grown males and 14 adult females, the rest being cubs playing in their laps. Interestingly, each male tiger has a female to it except for tiger T-33 which has a “lion’s share” of two tigresses.” In such a fresh scenario today, the famous Machali is the only tigress that lives alone and is not so attached to any male since she is growing old.
With the reduced number of females in Ranthambore, the probability of territorial fights could have increased but most unnaturally it is a very rare case when males have fought amongst themselves in Ranthambore except for the report of T-36 being killed by T-42 recently.
In fact, each male will be found remain confined to its territory and on the contrary many tigresses would be found engaged in territorial fights that also proved to be fatal like that for T-4, T-15 and T-5.
Besides, there are some of the tigers which are showing some kind of emotional reactions to each other where in one case we have found T-25, the Dollar (male tiger) is being left alienated and lonely by T-19 female, who left the territory without saying goodbye and re-united to her old companion T-28. And out of rage like a ditched guy, Dollar caught hold of the old lady Machali and was found checking her out as if he is enquiring her, what’s wrong with both her sisters T-17 & T-19 (both used to live with Dollar once).
Unlike to their nature, the forest officials might be focusing on the issue of this 1:1 ratio but since these big cats are not minding anymore and the trial is running so smoothly, it would better to consider it as the one of its own kind of Ranthambore where definitely tigers rule in their own unique way.