T25 a male tiger in Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan (India) defies stereotype tiger males. It has taken the role of a loving father of two orphan cubs. In the world of tigers males do not tolerate cubs, they kill them to avoid competition in future. In the light of this fact when the said relationship was recorded last year, it made headlines across the subcontinent.
According to Rajasthan forest department officials it was in February2011 when a tigress codenamed T5 died due to infection in her tail. At that time the female had two cubs aged around four months. After the demise of the mother both the cubs disappeared. To locate them forest officials started putting meat in Kachida Valley, a hilly area in the forest, and also deployed camera traps. To the delight, of everybody it was found the cubs are healthy and taking on to meat willingly. These cubs were too young to fend for themselves and could easily fall prey to other tigers or wild animals.
In May 2011 to the astonishment of everybody a full grown tiger was spotted – later identified as T25 – accompanying the cubs in camera captures. Everybody who saw this thought that the male would kill the cubs as all males do. But later it was realized that the tiger was actually protecting the little cats from danger and had even started taking them around on the wild trails.
M.D. Parashar, a renowned wildlife photographer and tiger lover from Ranthambhore says, “It is unheard of for a male tiger to take cubs under its wings”. ” We have seen complete groups with male and female tigers and cubs, but never a lone male with cubs. On observation, it was found that T25 had reduced its territory to protect cubs from fatigue. Male tigers never set their eyes on cubs they father.”
Parashar said it was all the more astonishing that the cubs are now more than an year old. ” It would be interesting to see what happens when the cubs turn two, the age at which they will start living independently,’ he said.