Bandhavgarh’s man-eater tigress raises hope of reviving tiger breeding programme

Bhopal: In Bhopal’s Van Vihar National Park not even a single case successful tiger breeding has taken place in the last eight years. But the arrival of a man-eater tigress from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve has raised hopes of the Van Vihar management.

Cave-like enclosure for breeding

The park authorities have started building a cave-like 22 meter long enclosure fitted with cameras for the breeding of tigress. Such an enclosure is being built for the first time after 1985. Van Vihar management is preparing a strategy for the breeding of tigress who has been named Machmachi.

The tigress reportedly had mauled three people to death in Bandhavgarh. To check the escalating man-animal conflict in the area, the forest department caught the tigress in October this year and shifted her to Bhopal’s Van Vihar.

Cubs were left in Bandhavgarh

Machmachi had two female cubs but they were left in the Bandhavgarh reserve as they were around 2-year-old and capable of living on their own.

Van Vihar director Sameeta Rajora said that Machmachi had become a mother once and so is fully capable of becoming giving birth. All the recent breeding attempts in Van Vihar had failed as the big cats involved were old and had crossed their breeding age, while Machmachi is young.

Hope for Bandhu

The Van Vihar currently has a 6-year-old tiger named Bandhu. According to park officials, Bandhu is capable of mating but so far authorities had failed to find a suitable match for him. Besides, Bandhu and Machmachi, the park has 7 tigresses and 2 tigers but all of them are old and have crossed breeding age. Efforts to mate Bandhu with old tigresses were not successful in the past.

Officials feel Machmachi is a very suitable match for Bandhu and so she has been kept in an enclosure close to Bandhu’s and the two can see each other. If all goes well, the visitors to Van Vihar will be delighted to see cute tiger cubs in the near future after many years.

(Story by Vandana Shroti)