Much has changed since our last visit to Bandhavgarh last year. Many of the tigers that we met and loved last year are gone.
One of Jhurjhura’s cubs died during the monsoon shortly after we left. However, the remaining two are still alive and remain inaccessible to the public.
Chorbehra the Limping Tigress lost her life in a territorial battle against Kancutti Tigress.
Her cubs have been driven out of the park and now reside in its outskirts. Keen to protect them, the forest officials have set up a checkpoint in the area and the cubs can occasionally be seen sat on the side of the Highway Road.
Kallu, who we all thought was heir apparent to B2’s throne disappeared in October and to this day, no one knows what happened to him.
A new male has recently appeared in Zone 2 of Bandhavgarh and rumours are rife that it is Kallu but until facial recognition has been carried out, this cannot be confirmed.
Mirchani Tigress’s two sub adult male cubs have been taken from the park and imprisoned in Bhopal Zoo for the rest of their lives, having been accused of being man-eaters.
But perhaps the biggest and saddest news is the death of B2, the King of Bandhavgarh, on 22nd November.
B2 was gravely injured in a territorial fight against his son. Severely weakened and unable to hunt, B2 killed cattle to survive but was shot during one of his raids. When he was eventually found, there were maggots growing in his wounds and he was extremely weak. The forest officials tried to save him by tranquillising him to take him to be treated, but sadly, B2 died en route.
The new Lord of Bandhavgarh is B2’s 6 year old son, Bhamera. Just as B2 waited until his grandfather, Charger was too weak to defend himself before he struck, cunning Bhamera did the same. Whilst he did not kill his father outright, the wounds that he dealt B2 were most certainly a contributory factor in his death.
When I left Bandhavgarh last year, I knew that there was a possibility that I would never see B2 again but it saddens me nonetheless. Farewell B2, my friend.