Tag Archives: Panna Tiger Reintroduction Project

Global Tiger Day: CREW talks of tigers and tiger habitat

Lalit Shastri

Central Indian Highlands

Today is Global Tiger Day, also called International Tiger Day. It is to celebrate and raise awareness about conservation and the largest cat species.

Tiger sits at the apex of the biotic pyramid. Today the magnificent tiger is threatened like never before due to the endless greed of the human beings leading to excessive biotic pressure, man-animal conflict and progressive devastation of forest cover.

After intensive research and ground level collection of information and data, CREW (Crusade for Revival of Environment and Wildlife), which is a not-for-profit organisation formed by a small group of concerned citizens in 1997 and registered under the Madhya Pradesh Society Registration Act 1973, had released two reports Vanishing Stripes in the year 1999 and Vanishing Stripes-II in 2000 to issue the firm warning that Tiger’s survival is threatened by poaching and loss of prey-base. These reports reveal the gravity of the problem and point out how gravely the tiger is threatened in one of its most fantastic habitats.

Crew marked the tiger reports by giving a call for immediate steps to save the tigers. The Big cats were already on the verge of extinction when Crew had published Vanishing Stripes in two parts in 1990 and 2000. Crew focused attention on causes threatening the survival of tigers. These include Illegal mining; unhindered grazing of cattle; reckless logging even in the Protected Areas in the name of firewood collection; man-made forest fires – many times caused by those engaged in minor forest produce collection; encroachment of forest land and its regularisation by doling out settlement rights to the encroachers by successive governments (the lid has been off on this count with the enactment of the Forest Rights Act); and the menace of poaching.

Tragically enough, ten years after these reports (Vanishing Stripes and Vanishing Stripes-II) were published by CREW, the last of the tigers had vanished from the Panna landscape. Under these glaring circumstances, the Panna Tiger Reintroduction Project was launched. It is an entirely a different story that tigers in sizeable numbers are once again roaming freely in this landscape. The credit for this goes to the dedicated team of Panna Tiger Reserve personnel who worked overtime with commitment and dedication to effect a turnaround undaunted by the grim situation on the ground.

Panna Tiger T-71, now in Bandhavgarh! (Photo source: Vijayarajan Muthu )

Ask those behind this project and they would tell how they shudder when a tiger wanders away from the Protected Area. Today the forest and wildlife experts treat it as a miracle if a tiger leaves the protected habitat and finds a mate in another Protected Area by crossing whatever is left of the forest corridor in the central Indian highlands, where the once heavily forested plateaux are now turning bald and vast patches of forest area is fast losing its canopy, the small trees, shrubs and undergrowth. With recurring forest fires, the forest surface is becoming hard as there are fewer insects and worms to burrow the soil to make the ground soft and porous to allow the rain water to seep in and get released gradually through brooks, streams and rivulets to keep the rivers perennially charged (there are also fewer birds and bees and this is leaving an adverse impact on forests and across large tracts one only sees a few standing trees and the forests are no more living forests – i.e. forests that can regenerate).

Living forest!

Come rains and what we have – a scenario where too much of water is now flowing down the slopes carrying with it lot of silt which accumulates in the river beds reducing the carrying capacity of the rivers. During the monsoon season, too much of water flows into the rivers in too short a time, thereby flooding them and for the remaining part of the year the rivers and their tributaries remain absolutely dry. We have built a system of dams which has replaced completely the river system. Since the drainage of rivers has been blocked by dams, their natural flushing is now a thing of the past and as a result the rivers have become excessively polluted.

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When the entire ecosystem is under attack, one can imagine the state of the biotic pyramid, the flora and fauna and the tiger that sits at its apex.

Today is a day for all of us to dedicate and rededicate ourselves to the cause of tigers, their habitat and the entire ecosystem. This is necessary not only for the survival of tigers but also for the survival of humankind.

Lalit Shastri, Editor-in-Chief Newsroom24x7, launched CREW in 1997 to raise awareness about various factors threatening environment, green cover and wildlife. He shot on location the documentary ‘Last of the Gharial’, produced by Assignment Earth. He has also been closely associated with the episode ‘Nature & Conservation’ with Serge De Gheldere. This forms part of CANVAS documentary ‘India for beginners’ –a Belgian production directed by award winning Director Tom Ven der Velpen. Lalit has been chosen this year (2017) to judge the Limited Series Short Form Category of the 2017 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival media competition. He was chosen in June 2016 to judge the “Best Earth & Sky” category for the Jackson Hole Science Media Awards.

Panna Tiger Reintroduction project and Bahubali 2: The story of the Panna Tigers 

R. Sreenivasa Murthy

I left Panna Tiger Reserve (as a part and parcel of  the system) in July 2015, almost two years ago. But every movement/development of Panna Tiger Population growth and population dynamics intrigues me and I follow it with awe. Most of the information comes to me on its own either (both) from outside (Panna People) or from the within the system (Park People).
A year ago, soon after the monsoons, a villager residing  on the eastern flank of the Panna Park (Panna-Amanganj side) phoned and informed me that a tiger is sitting in the bushes of his agricultural field. I told him not to disturb the tiger and to inform the same to the park authorities. Such instances were not very uncommon even now, whether a tiger migration or any other activity related to people-park issues. People from Jardhoba phoned me several times regarding their relocation and I had to pursue them to speak to the present authorities posted in the park.

In such a situation an interesting conversation about some T71 of Bandhavgargh (Tiger Reserve) appeared on social media on 31 May 2017 with a tiger moving unperturbed with lip licking posture and I reproduce the same:

Nilanjan Coomar
Great to see…if it is Panna’s tiger, but now in Bandhavgarh!
The eye to eye game continues…… Id:T-71


Assuming that this is a new tiger to Kithauli range of Bandhavgargh the attitude and body language of this tiger seems to perfectly fit with the hero of  Bahubali 2. Yes please recall the Bahubali- Two years ago when I had declared P212 as Bahubali1. Assuming that this is a new tiger to Kithauli range of Bandhavgargh the attitude and body language of this tiger seems to perfectly fit with the hero of  Bahubali 2. Yes please recall the Bahubali- Two years ago when I had declared P212 as Bahubali1.
My reaction to this social media conversation was instant and I reproduce it:

Rangaiah Sreenivasa Murthy: Is it true….I am delighted….Jai Panna Tigers,,,Jai Sherkhan….Jai Hind
June 4 at 6:21am
Then arose the question of authentication of the presumption. My answer to that question from Mr Niranjan was

Nilanjan Coomar Not fully sure if this is the case sir, I think this is just what is being reported. Stripe pattern matching to be done I guess

June 4 at 12:29pm • Edited
My answer/question to the clarification is reproduced.

Rangaiah Sreenivasa Murthy: Pl send me some more photos of the same with both flanks (if they are with you) in full size so that proper verification may be done. my email id is rseenu60@gmail.com and ph 9424790077
June 5 at 5:56am

Based on my queries I got the responses from different corners including one from Nilanjan Coomar. And they are:

Nilanjan Coomar: Sorry sir…as noted in the post, these pictures are not mine. I hope Mr Shekhhar Soni has other pictures that he can pass on to you.
June 5 at 9:58am

Vijayarajan Muthu: Rangaiah Sreenivasa Murthy Sir, here are flank shots of the Male who is believed to have migrated to Bandhavgarh (Khitauli) from Panna. It’d be great if you could kindly confirm it’s indeed true as apparently no one seems to have flank shots of each & every litter of T-1.
June 6 at 1:12pm

Then based on the photographic evidence from Bandhavgarh that I got from Mr Vijayarajan Muthu and in coordination with my earlier colleagues of park Dr Sanjeev Gupta (presently continuing as Panna Park Veterinary Officer) and Dr. Anupam Sahay IFS (presently working as DFO South Panna) who has provided me photographs and one camera trap photograph of the same tiger from park during 2015. But curiously enough, the WII team classified it as an unidentified tiger. Dr Sanjeev checked it with bad quality photographs that he had. Then I required good quality photographs to make it 100% sure to go public on this count. Dr Anupam helped me with the good quality photographs of Mr. Mohan Meena IAS who as Collector, Satna at that point of time had some good collection of photos of the tiger in question which he had clicked on 15 May 2015. This tiger was badly injured because of some in-fight or play among the siblings and his lower jaw skin and soft lower palate were hanging and we did a surgery on him on 11 April 2015 and photographs could show full recovery signs if one followed him carefully. At that time some people used to say that at Panna we are managing a Zoo by attending every tiger. But we knew what we were doing. Small intervention to help this individual tiger proved our point when he crossed all the hurdles and reached Bandhavgarh covering a distance of about 125 kms between Panna and Bandhavgarh. Thus establishing that a destined tiger can cover that distance overcoming both natural and man-made obtacles, thereby connecting both the source populations and strengthening the genes at both ends.

Then came the photo credit issue of the photographs supplied to me from Bandhavgarh and my conversation to and fro from Vijayarajan Muthu  is reproduced.

Rangaiah Sreenivasa Murthy: Pl send me some more photos of the same with both flanks (if they are with you) in full size so that proper verification may be done. my email id is rseenu60@gmail.com and ph 9424790077
June 5 at 5:56am

Vijayarajan Muthu: Rangaiah Sreenivasa Murthy Sir, here are flank shots of the Male who is believed to have migrated to Bandhavgarh (Khitauli) from Panna. It’d be great if you could kindly confirm it it’s indeed true as apparently no one seems to have flank shots of each & every litter of T-1.June 6 at 1:12pm

Then came my final answer to all and I reproduce:

Rangaiah Sreenivasa Murthy: Hold on for a while. Yeh Panna ki hai. I will post detailed investigation and identification report by tomorrow. Bahubali Begining ke baad Bahubali 2 aane me do sal laggaya tha..
20 hrs

Vijayarajan Muthu: Thank you so much for cracking the ID of the Tiger from Panna that has created history by safe and successful dispersal to Bandhavgarh Rangaiah Sreenivasa Murthy Sir !!! Kindly note, while the image credit of the left flank should be Akhilvijay Singh, the right flank shot belongs to Sandeep Dutta.Like at 11:32am

At this juncture every one may be curious what about me and my photographic collection? Sorry my hard disk carrying  Panna Treasure House between 2014-2015 crashed last April (2016) and I am struggling to get the files retrieved. Felt sorry about it, but thought that it is not mine. If something does not belong to you, it will never be with you… and vice versa is also 100% correct. Amen.

Now a serious business of T71’s identification-

Luckily I got the frontal, right and left flank pics of 2015 (at Panna) and 2017 (at Bandhavgargh) left flank belongs to Akhilvijay Singh, the right flank credit goes to Sandeep Dutta as the photos claim. Still I am not sure to whom the frontal view belongs to?

Based on the facial marking and stripe pattern I have identified 7 unique markings of this tiger in question and numbered them accordingly.  2015 (May and October) photographs at Panna Tiger Reserve and 2017 (June) photographs of the same individual at Bandhavgargh Tiger Reserve are depicted and these unique marking match with each other perfectly and the tiger in question. The tiger identification is  not a rocket science, it is a common sense. What all you need is to maintain a perfect photographic library of the tigers you have. If you have more resources you may maintain the genetic profile, which may be cost prohibitive and may not require for simple management of tiger population dynamics of Tiger at India as on date.

The photo showing tiger with its kill has been captured in Kaldha range of South Panna forest deivision, a resting place for tigers between Panna and Bandahvgarh. The photo was taken on October 15, 2016. This tiger got caputureed in beat Rampur PF-833.

Thus, T71 of Bandhavgargh is here by identified as P213-21 of Panna Tiger Reserve. This male tiger is the first son (male tiger) of P213’s (T2’s third daughter (female tiger) of her first litter) second litter. His Birth date is 5 December 2014 as per the monitoring records maintained by MPFD and FD, Panna TR.

Input, Output, Outcome and Implication:

Input: 24×7 monitoring, timely interventions by the dedicated Panna Team,  Jan Samarthan se Baagh Samrakhsan.

Output: This tiger might have started migrating between August 2015 and August 2016 and might have reached the nearest Tiger Source Population on the eastern corridor on its own by June 2017. I strongly belive he is a destined one to have been saved by surgery by Panna Team and survived to reach the adjoining Tiger Source Population.

Outcome: Exchange of natural Genes or gene flow between two tiger source populations in less than 7 years of human care and attention.

Implication: Critical populations like Panna can also survive if a small amount of Human care is ensued for the rest of the Nature of which the tiger is only one species. Does nature require human care or vice versa?!!?  Post script:  Anant (No Beginning no End) Bahubali 1 and Bahubali 2 of Panna:
Now comes the question of Bahubali The Begining and Bahubali 2.  Bahubali: The Beginning  (Movie) appeared on World Motion Picture arena in 2015 and P212 started  migrating to find other tiger source population in Febuary 2015 and finally could not reach either Bandhavgarh or Sanjay TRs on its own due to various anthropogenic issues. Then the Panna, Bandhvgarh and Sanjay Tiger Resrve Teams helped to him to reach Sanjay Tiger Reserve, where he fathered a litter with a resident tiger and later died. At that time I named P212 as Bahubali of Panna.  (Shall we call him Amarendra Bahubali.) Now this P213-21 steered through all the hurdles  without anyone’s aide and reached Bandhavgarh and hope he will fight it out with Ballaladev’s of Bandhavgarh and I herewith name him Bahubali 2. And I name him Amarendra Bahubali…. Bhali Bhali Bahli Bhali raa Bhali Saho re Bahubali…Jaya Haarati neeke kottali , Bhuvana lanni Jai kottali, Gananale Chatram Pattali…(Insert the song from the film if you want and elevate nature loving people around including yourselves. Yes I am hearing the title song from Bahubali 2 and on cloud 9)  Panna Tigers Jindabad…Panna and Tiger People Jindabad….













T5- the tigress brought to Panna Tiger Reserve to repopulate the habitat is dead

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Panna tigress T5 is dead
Panna tigress T5 is dead

Panna (Madhya Pradesh): T5 – the tigress brought to Panna Tiger Reserve from Kanha in November 2011 under the ambitious Panna Tiger Reintroduction Project was found dead this morning in the Hinauta beat of the Panna habitat.

According to the Park director, the cause of death of 11 year old T5 is said to be infighting between the tigers. After the Panna Tiger Reserve veterinary doctor Sanjeev Kumar Gupta conducted the autopsy, T5 was cremated at 2.30 pm today in the presence of Chhatarpur Chief Conservator of Forest Lal Singh Rawat and repreentatives of the National Tiger Conservation Aurthority and Wildlife Institute of India.

After the entire population of Panna tigers had vanished and not a single tiger was spotted in the Panna Tiger Reserve making Panna a ‘zero’ tiger park, T3 was relocated to this area from Pench and T1 (Tigress from Bhandhavgarh) and T2 (Tigress from Kanha) were brought to Panna in March 2009 under the ambitious Panna Tiger Reintroduction Project. The comprehensive Tiger Reintroduction Project was conceived in technical collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India and launched after obtaining clearance from National Tiger Conservation Authority.

The Panna Tiger Reintroduction Project had touched a major milestone in December 2009 when the Panna team had rescued T3, the male tiger brought from Pench Tiger Reserve, and released it in the park area for the second time.

T3 was brought to the Panna habitat in the month of November 2009. After staying in the park area for a short period, this tiger left the park area and kep moving in the southern direction where his home—Pench was located. He had travelled more than 450 km during that one month. After this tiger was rescued and released in Panna Tiger Reserve, he had paired with T1 and T2. While T1 gave birth to four cubs in mid-April 2010, T2 also gave birth to four cubs in October 2010. After a few months, T4 along with 2 other siblings were orphaned when their mother was killed in Kanha. The Kanha management had picked up these cubs and hand-reared them with a plan to re-wild them. T4 was the first to be relocated for re-wilding at Panna in March 2011. T4 delivered two cubs in mid-November 2011 Subsequently T5 (sibling of T4) was also released at Panna in November 2011. T1 and T2 delivered their second litters in 2012 with four and three cubs respectively.

In July 2012, semi-adult tigress was found dead in the Panna Tiger Reserve. The dead tigress was identified as Panna-214, the fourth cub born from the first litter of T2.

Relocated tigress – T6 delivers 3 cubs in Panna Tiger Reserve

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Tigress T6 with cub
Tigress T6 with cub

Panna: The Panna Tiger Reserve staff has spotted 3 cubs born to the tigress – T6 that had been brought from the Pench Tiger Reserve as part of the Panna Tiger Reintroduction Project, which was launched after the entire tiger popular hadvanished and not a single tiger was spotted in this Tiger Reserve in 2009.
The T6 cubs were spotted in the Hinauta range of Panna Tiger Reserve on March 5. T6 was brought to the Panna habitat in January 2014. T6 delivered her first litter in August 2014 but these cubs could not survive. This year in January she had her sedcond litter.

Panna Tiger Reserve Field Director  Sreenivasa Murthy told Newsroom24x7 that with the arrival of three more cubs, the number of tigers in Panna has gone up to 26. It is also significant and speaks volumes of the success of the Panna Tiger Reintroduction Project as all the relocated tigresses have delivered cubs.