The Prince of Bandipur is no more
The tiger that was found dead in the Kundakere range of Bandipur National Park on Sunday has been identified as the big cat that brought down a gaur in a video that went viral on social media in 2013.
Incidentally, the same tiger went by the monicker ‘Prince’ and was usually found in the tourism zone though its territory extended beyond it. Bandipur Tiger Reserve director T. Heeralal told The Hindu that the stripe pattern of the deceased tiger matched those of images of Prince in their photo database, and he too was at the fag end of his illustrious career having lorded over Bandipur.
In forest department and National Tiger Conservation Authority records, he is identified as T222. Prince’s mother Gowri (named by JLR) was very popular too. She was not scared of people. Around a decade ago, she used to be regularly sighted by tourists in the tourism zone, near safari road sides, walking or resting, with her three cubs (two females and one male). Prince has inherited this trait from Gowri, say many forest officials. His Father late Agastya, who was the most famous male of this park in Karnataka and was considered the ‘King of Bandipur’.
Wildlife Enthusiasts witnessed the Prince’s aggression at age four and were sure that he would rule in the jungles of bandipur like his father before him. Even at the end of his life he was one of Bandipur’s most dominant males and roamed around freely in his area of 80 sq km; whereas an average male tiger’s territory is 30 sq km.
The bold prince was a crowd puller and was often compared to Bandhavgarh’s iconic tiger, Charger, known to attract tourists in throngs. But unlike Charger, who got his name because of a tendency to charge at vehicles and wild animals, Prince of Bandipur was calm and has had no history of attacking humans, even when they were in his domain.
Prince at the time of his death was around 12 years and had ostensibly died of old age. The life span of a tiger in the wild ranges from 11 to 13 years though Machli, the lady of the lake, at Ranthambore, which died in August last year, lived for almost 18 years.
Meanwhile, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WSC), which has a database of individual tigers in the Bandipur-Nagarahole belt generated through camera trap methods over decades of research in the field, identified the dead tiger as BPT-222, which was also known by tour guides as Raja and more recently as Prince.
Ullas Karanth, tiger specialist and director, Centre for Wildlife Studies, WCS-Asia, said BPT-222 was first photographed through camera trap methods in 2009.
The video of 2013 shows the tiger not only taking on the gaur head-on, but also executing a neat kill illustrating the power of its jaws and the lethal grip over its prey besides its propensity to attack large prey animals unmindful of the dangers involved.
Giving details and history of the tiger gleamed from the CWS photo-database, Dr.Karanth said the individual was first photo captured in Bandi Kallare Road of the Hediyala range of Bandipur on January 16, 2009.
Its image was captured 27 times over the years, the last being on February 4, 2016, before it was found dead on Sunday, Dr. Karanth said.
source: various sources.
Tribute to Prince
Karthik B (Srinath)
Hope I have given justice to you in my imagination Oh Prince! You were the wallpaper in many PCs and mobile phones; you were the undisputed king of Bandipur tigers in the tales told even in the homes of wildlife lovers, you were many photographers’ first tiger to have been sighted. Why have you forsaken me and left me stranded, Mighty Prince?
Thinking far back to the times when I was an amateur to the universe of Wildlife Photography, I would have heard your name a zillion times at any point I happened to cross the zone of any tiger reserve during my sojourns, from my companions who had been to Bandipur.
That was the prominent spot you had in the minds of the hordes of Wildlife Photographers. You were the one whom the photographers hungered for, You were a specialty during your long rule in the realm of the forests of Bandipur.
Numerous Individuals took credits by clicking you aplenty, despite the fact that the individual who named you “Prince” hadn’t taken such a large amount of credit. You were an example of how overwhelming a tiger can be in its own domain. You were the ‘first tiger’ for many individuals, yet you didn’t bestow upon me, your effortless grace, by taking a stroll in front of me ever, though I wished with all my heart, to see you walk languidly, giving me a head-on view with all your feline grace.
You gave the numerous picture-takers a lump in their throats when you strolled imperially just close to them without caring the slightest bit about the humans around you, nor did you pose dangers to the ones you encountered.
There are numerous tigers in the same forest as you, yet none could match up to your magnetism and boldness. You gave each and every photographer elating recollections of seeing you and gave them some dazzling stances.
Yet, when I recently came to see you in all your glory, which the general populace had described with all striking details, on many an occasion, I went back without even catching a glimpse of your magnificence.You were the tiger who had individuals go Gaga over, and you are the tiger to have left the numerous photographers and wildlife lovers shattered over your passing. I have not seen you ever in my life, but rather your sheer magnificence made me compose this exactly how I had imagined you from the tales of people describing you with all your intensity, boldness, and Charisma. Despite everything, I don’t have the foggiest idea, if I have been able to portray in this post, the presence you had.
This is written just by the pictures I have come across and the way Prince has been described by the forest officials and the photographers in their various pictures.
Rest in Peace, Prince. The mighty prince is no more. Long live the king!