Jatara scares animals away at Amrabad Tiger Reserve

With lakhs of people and thousands of vehicles passing through their territory for the past 3 days, they would have escaped, say officials

MANNANUR: “They have gone,” a forest watcher, coated with a thick layer of red dust, said. He was referring to F6, F26, and the Jilegyikunta male, three tigers of Amrabad Tiger Reserve that established their territories around the Saileswaram temple, deep in the Nallamala Hills that the reserve is spread in.

Of these three tigers, F6, also known as Farah female, has two young cubs. “We have been seeing her and the cubs more often in the past few months. When people heard about the tigress with cubs, more people started pouring in for ecotourism trips. But now, with lakhs of people and thousands of vehicles passing through their territory for the past three days, they would have escaped to some other area,” the forest watcher said.

The reserve’s predators, tigers, leopards, and the Dholes (Indian wild dogs), and their prey, Chital deer, and Nilgai antelopes, not to mention the omnipresent sloth bears, have all made themselves scarce along the 15 km dirt road that leads to the Saileswaram temple in the heart of the reserve.

The Saileswaram temple, according to forest officials, is bang in the middle of the Jilegyikunta male’s territory. Typically, male tigers have large territories that encompass the territories of two or three females. Forest department staffers who patrol the various beats in the area, confirmed that the male tiger was seen several times just above the gorge in which the temple is situated.

“There is a pool there and he comes there to drink water. We hope that once the dust settles down after the end of the Saileswaram Jatara on Sunday, the three tigers will return to their territories in a few days. Frankly, we are worried,” a department official told Deccan Chronicle.

“If not, then we will mount a search to find out where they have moved to,” the official added. However, that is easier said than done in the undulating landscape — hills, valleys, and deep gorges — that much of Amrabad Tiger Reserve is made up of.

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