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Tigers Fight

Nature Safari India - Curious tiger

Not many have seen the Tigers fight in a Jungle. At times one feels that he is lucky to see one, at times you feel that you should not have seen one. Two beautiful powerful creatures fighting to capture a territory or a Tigress is not a pleasant sight. After-effects are consequential, painful and death for the fighters, and distressful for the viewer.

You must be wondering why this note on a travel site? The reason is simple, this site or this company came into being because of love for Tigers. So anything going on with Tigers is a matter of concern and I wish to share it here. Another point you must be wondering is about my fascination with Kanha Tigers..well let me clarify here, Mukki to be in particular. Yes, I am enamoured by these Mukki males, the reason is they are monstrous, mesmerizing, and majestic.

I write this note while the battle between two heavyweight Tigers is on in Mukki zone of Kanha. Coincidentally both are sons of the legendary Munna (who has CAT spelt as a marking on his forehead). One is Umarpani male who has ruled Mukki for the last 4 plus years. He has been used to being the dominant male in Mukki zone. But over last three years, it was noticed that three more males (Bheema, Kingfisher (KF), Link7) came into the zone and kind of charted out a small pie out of Mukki. Umarpani allowed that to happen for reasons best known to him. The second male is Chotta Munna aka Link7 and lately even Linku. Called Chotta Munna as he is the son of Munna.


Umarpani and Kingfisher (KF) Tigers fight

But as they came, as they went, like the FIFO rule (First In, First Out). KF got the first dose of Umarpani’s fury as he was the eldest of the lot. KF was born late 2010 and went in Oct 2016. He often intruded territory of Umarpani male for a good close to two years. Like a seasoned warrior or a smart street fighter, Umarpani male did not do anything initially. He waited for himself to get into his prime. He studied KF completely, which included a fight in Jan 2015 with him. Seemed as if he did a SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threat) analysis of KF. Assessed his amplitude, then like a fugitive knocked him out fast, furious and forever. It seemed like a very clever fight by Umarpani male, without injuries to himself he was able to bring down the mighty KF.

Kingfisher in Kanha National Park

Umarpani and Bheema Tigers fight

Now it was the turn of Bheema, in November 2016 they had a fight, and Bheema was discovered afflicted with agonizing injuries. He was moaning when found by Mahouts. He had not eaten for a few days, had maggots all over him, basically, an irreversible condition. Forest department tried their best to revive him but failed. Who could have done this to a Tiger? Another Tiger of course, but which one? Umarpani obviously.

When it seemed that the Tigers fight in late 2016 had settled the territorial and Tigress sharing arrangement perhaps people had underestimated the Tigers of Kanha. The Tigers fight in Kanha for Territories, Tigresses, and Tyranny. They wash their fight with blood. No half measures.

Bheema in June 2015.

Advantages to Umarpani male in a Tigers fight

This guy has advantages going his way right from his genes. Son of Munna, and Umarpani female both of whom were big sized. If one studies the lineage of Munna you know that his father was another big-time guy who ruled for a long time in Kanha. Same goes for Umarpani female, very strong lineage, her mother being a sister of the Legendary Laxmi.

Not only has Umapani male got the gene advantage of brawn but his brain is sharp too. Like in the previous two fights he displayed amazing intelligence. While he knew that to fight for long with KF was not advisable so surprise him and knock him out.

Umarpani male in Kanha

The Climax has begun; Umarpani male and Link 7 (Chotta Munna) Tigers fight

They have had a couple of minor skirmishes in the past. But the one-two days back was no small one. The fight was seen by some tourists. They came out of a bush, exchanged some blows right behind the safari vehicle, and moved into the bush again. During the approach, Umarpani male was seen bleeding in his eye and his left forepaw. But not to be subdued he was after the Link7 after the blows were exchanged. This means that Link7 was wanting to leave the territory and Umarpani was walking behind him to ensure that. The cut below the eye of Umarpani male at first gave a sign that he has lost his eye, but no, he escaped marginally being blinded by one eye.

After this fight, a reticent calm in the forest. They both disappeared into the forest. None knew what happened. Who was hit how badly? Was the fight over? Will they survive? If yes, then who will and who will not? All Kanha lovers on the edge, sleepless nights. Both the Tigers were heart-throbs of many. Link7 had shown his boldness in his very early days, he would model for the tourists, run after the adult Tigers while he was a sub-adult. Basically a very favourite Tiger of the tourists.

On the other hand, Umarpani has been the shy one, never wants publicity. Hardly gave sightings till the time all the 4 males were in the zone. But after eliminating the two males he started to show up. Though not so consistently as Link7 or other Tigers hence there is a raging debate on him about his size and stealth.

Will Umarpani survive this Tigers fight?

Now, this is a million-dollar question. But odds are in his favour. He has a deep cut below his left eye, will that heal? It is noticed that Tigers usually lick themselves and get fit. But his tongue will not reach the area of the cut, does that mean the wound can be severe? He is a smart Tiger, and he knows what to do in such conditions. Tigers need no training in self-defence and recovery. They learn the first aid course from their mother’s womb. I have heard of Tigers applying saliva on their paws and then rubbing the paw in the area where the tongue cannot reach. I can confidently say this as I have also seen my German Shepherd do this when he got cut below his eye. He did exactly what I had heard. Apply saliva on his paw and rub on his eye.

This is the treatment that Umarpani male will give himself and be out for the final round of the fight which in my opinion will be sooner than expected. Whose favour the fight will go only the time will tell, but it is advantage Umarpani for now.

Best Wishes to the Tigers of Kanha, may the best of genes survive, after-all it is the “Survival of the Fittest”

– Sharad Vats

P.S. I am adding this note three days after the fight of the two big males. Happy to report that both the males are moving, so no injury critical. Umarpani male has been tracked by the Mahouts of the forest department. They clicked his image and observed a cut just above his eye which is drying up, and should be healed soon. Chotta Muna (Link7) was seen by the tourists yesterday morning. He was limping a bit, and dragging his leg as well. No bleeding as such, so he should also be back to normal soon. 

These are true Tigers, they fight like one, they heal like one. In fact, Umarpani male was seen by the Mahouts bringing down an Indian Gaur. Now, this speaks volumes of the mental state of this Tiger. After a fight with a big Tiger in which he came out bleeding he has gone ahead and killed a Gaur, the largest prey animal in Kanha this is amazing, and this is what makes Umarpani male a very special Tiger for me. He seems to be proving right a blog post written by me on him last year, titled, “The Biggest Tiger of Central India”. 

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