Modern male single parent tiger bringing up cubs10/05/2012 09:39:42 The extraordinarily caring tiger
The well-known and patient tigress, Kachida, had already raised three cubs to full maturity in the park, between 2007 and 2010, putting up with her mature brood well into their adulthood. She was also a favourite to visitors and the park guards, being completely comfortable with humans in her territory.
Balendu Singh, an honorary Wildlife Warden, found Kachida in the small pool behind the Dhakara anicut in late January last year. Soon, two healthy cubs came scampering down to the water's edge calling for their mother. Traces of blood on the mouths and paws confirmed that the cubs had eaten meat from a fresh kill, likely to have been one of their first proper meals, after coming off their mother's milk.
"We feared greatly for their survival" said Yogesh Sahu, the Deputy Field director, in charge of the park.
Here was their father, the dominant male of the area, out on his regular territorial walk with his own small orphaned cubs. Nothing like this had ever been recorded before. A male tiger, taking on a mother's role - and from such a tender age.
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The male tiger, known as Dollar (called because of the dollar shape stripes on his right flank), is often seen hunting and allowing his daughters to eat from his kill, not merely protecting them from other tigers, which is usually the father's only job. Those who have been privileged enough to spot this family have seen the cubs nuzzle a sleeping father who would lift his paw and ‘pat' the cub down near him, in the manner of mother. Recently Dollar come out from the bush, cubs in tow patrolling his territory, spray-marking trees, rolling in the scent left by him or scalding the wrong-doings of his daughters.
The cubs are alive and well today, and history is being well and truly rewritten by this extraordinary father, after nearly a year of fatherly motherhood.
Not yet out of danger
Would he stop protecting them? What happens when they mature? Will a transient male kill them first?
More about India's Tigers
Father and his daughter walk show huge affection to each other. Photo creit Balendu Singh