Here comes news of a doting father on Father’s Day. In a rare display of paternal instincts a male tiger in the Ranthambore Wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan is taking care of two tiger cubs that lost their mother in February. In the wild it is customarily the mother who looks after the cub at least for two years and the father’s role is restricted to occasional visits.
Forest department official of Ranthambore spotted a picture taken by one of the hidden cameras in the forest the male tiger recognized as T25 walking a meter behind a tiger cub few months old. The officials found this a rare display of fatherly affection as male tigers usually stay away from cubs and some do not even see their cubs. Adult males are also known to kill tiger cubs.
According to Rajesh Gupta, Field Director of the reserve, the cubs were first seen in January this year roaming around with their mother, a tigress recognized as T5. The tigress died on February 9th and the fathers seems to have since then taken the responsibility of looking after his kids.
“It’s an extremely rare case where a male tiger seems to be playing the role of a doting dad to the motherless cubs,” U M Sahai, Rajasthan’s chief wildlife warden, said. “Normally, the mother takes care of the cubs till they are at least two years old, while the father is a visitor. The male is seen off and on, especially when he comes to mate with the tigress,” he said.
Forest department officials though are providing a helping hand in raising the cubs by keeping live baits. The cubs are still very young to hunt on their own and the practice therefore ensures that they get ample food to eat.
What is even more amazing is that the adult tiger is allowing the cubs to feed on the bait without touching it himself.
“During my visit to the park on Monday 30 May, I was standing on the top of a cliff and I saw one of the cubs down below eating the kill,” Gupta says.“It is seen in good health,” he said. It appears as if the male tiger is allowing the cubs to eat their kill and not taking it for himself.”
There is no earlier record of such kind of behaviour by a male tiger.
Article and Image source: BBC