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An absolutely stunning 6 days in Kanha and Bandhavgarh in first week of October 2017. I have been regular to these two parks for about 2 decades now. Both are very unique and compliment each other very well. Yes, Tiger sighting is a matter of luck, but you can maximize your luck by doing all possible safaris during your stay. I started with Kanha, and first two safaris were blank, i.e, no Tiger sighting. We were hearing alarm calls, and seeing regular pug marks but did not sight the elusive one. My focus this visit was only Chotta Munna the son of Legendary Munna who is still kicking and alive at 15+. Why Chotta Munna? As i wanted to complete the family tree of Munna. Having seen the father of Munna, then the mighty Munna himself, and also Umarpani male the son from first litter of Munna, and i was keen to see Chotta Munna. He finally showed up, and royally at that. Walked behind our vehicle for good 10 minutes. He had showed his confidence good two years back itself when still a sub adult he had challenged the likes of Bheema, and Kingfisher two grown up male Tigers of Kanha. His persistence to dominate got him the better of Bheema, whom he delat a mortal blow in October 2015. Summer of 2017 he spent making his intention clear to the dominant Umarpani male. Couple of fights happened, one was serious in which both came out bleeding. But he has not given up an inch of his territory to Umarpani. Perhaps after Kingfisher and Bheema died, Umarpani male also realised that there is no need to fight now. There is plenty of space, prey and Tigresses in their respective areas. Though one can never be certain about two grown up male Tigers. They are born to fight, live fighting, and go down fighting. But it will be only good for Kanha if both these specimen, i.e. Umarpani male and Chotta Munna male survive. For they are real strong genes. Having felt satiated with this huge male i moved onwards to Bandhavgarh where my tickets were booked, and i was keen to see some Tiger cubs. Like always, Bandhavgarh yet again did not disappoint. What an a experience of two sets of cubs in Bandhavgarh. One sub adult, of Rajbhera Tigress, and same evening three ten month old cubs of Kankati Jr. These three cubs we saw by themselves and were wondering where was the mother. It was brought to our notice about 10 days later that a dead Tiger was found about a km away from this area. Nothing has been concluded if it was a natural death or an unnatural one. Though chances of latter are much higher. The forest department has acted very proactively and done the best in the situation. They have got these three cubs in an enlarged enclosure, and once adult they might be relocated in adjoining Sanjay National Park, which has fewer Tigers. The coming season in Bandhavgarh and Kanha is going to be a cub season. Both the parks after a long time are brimming with cubs. So delay no longer, and book your self in soon. Best Wishes Sharad Kumar Vats
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