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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mating Time Kanha



The male and female tigers kept calling each other in broad daylight. We sat in our jeep waiting in expectation as the ethereal sound waves collided in our ears. The effect was magical in those serene surroundings of dense jungles of Kanha National Park.   

We were listening the mating calls of the pair hidden in the deep confines of the jungles. The pair did not emerge from the bush but nevertheless we enjoyed understanding the mating behavior of tigers. The call ceased after some time and the pair moved uphill away from us in to undisturbed area to mate in complete privacy.    

In protected areas like Kanha only the dominant male is able to mate with tigress in estrous. The competition is fierce and weaklings are pushed into subjugation. The dominance ensures transfer of best genetic trait much required for survival in wild terrain that the preserve is.   

In our tiger safari we found lot of evidence of tigers mating, some lucky one's may have witnessed this solemn event. Field biologists have understood much about breeding biology of big cats and more has to be discovered. This is required for tiger conservation in India for mating ensures arrival of new generation of big cats and hence augment numbers.      

Kanha National Park is situated in the Central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh in India. It is habitat of long lit of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. The floral diversity is bewildering and requires training in advance botany to understand.  

Understanding our wilderness is not reserved for researchers alone, each and everyone can make a valuable contribution to save the tiger and its home. The mating increases in Kanha during the winters to some extent since the predators breed throughout the year.   

We were lucky to witness a young tigress searching for male tiger near the Kanha Meadow. The chemical communication is highly developed in big cats and they find others from scent in the urine sprayed on the trees. They also use scat and sprays on bushes to communicate. Using a process called flehmen they discover tigress in estrous or scent of the male nearby.   

The tigress sucked the effervescence of fresh urine on a Salai tree and grimaced with her tongue hanging out. The flehmen enables air to be sent to the vomeronasal or Jackobsons' organ situated in the roof of the mouth. The processing lets the big cats to discover other tigers especially females in estrous. 

My group was able to photograph this event from close. There were more tigers to be seen later besides the enchanting wildlife and avian species. 

People come from far and wide to experience this magical mystical land called Kanha. Tourism benefits wildlife and local communities in a positive manner. The preserve is the best managed in India and tourism is controlled such that it remains friendly to the ecosystem and its wild denizens. Large scale employment is generated by the hotels in Kanha which follow responsible tourism guide lines. The resorts depend upon the tourists to survive which arrive here in plenty every year.    

Best time to visit is anytime whence the park is open (16th Oct.- 31st June). Depending upon weather preference you can organize your trip. It is cold till the month of February and the heat increases after words. Avoid holidays and weekends. The park is closed for evening safaris on all Wednesdays.    
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