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Another tiger walks from Pandharkawda to Aurangabad, using same route as its distant cousin

ONE OF the explanations cited by wildlife managers for not releasing PTRF_84, higher recognized as Avni’s cub, in Dnyanganga Wildlife Sanctuary in Buldhana district was that she was from the same gene pool to which Walker, the Pandharkawda tiger that got here to the sanctuary after a 3,000-km stroll, belonged.

The cub, which was picked up from Pandharkawda in Yavatmal district in December 2018, died on March 13 after a territorial conflict with one other tigress, following her launch in Pench Tiger Reserve, the place she underwent “re-wilding” for 2 years in an enclosure.

But earlier this week, a tiger from Pandharkawda was present in Gavtala space of Aurangabad division. This took officers without warning since this tiger too had walked the same route taken by Walker to attain Dnyanganga. While Walker has not been noticed over the previous 50 days after turning into secure in Dnyanganga for over a 12 months, the invention of the brand new Pandharkawda tiger has underscored wildlife managers’ level that there could be a number of different tigers which will have roamed like Walker with out being seen. Walker’s motion may very well be traced due to a radio collar fitted at Pandharkawda.

Now known as Walker 2, the Gavtala tiger doesn’t have a radio collar however was recognized from its stripe sample that matched entice digital camera photographs captured in Pandharkawda.

As wildlife managers have came upon, Walker 1 and Walker 2 are siblings of the same tiger T5, however born to completely different moms, T1 and T3, who’re siblings. Thus, Walker 1 and Walker 2 are additionally distant cousins.

Pandharkawda Divisional Forest Officer Subhash Puranik stated, “T1 had three cubs (C1, C2, C3), of which C1 and C3 were found entangled in a trap in 2019. They were rescued and fitted with collar so we could track their movement. While C2 headed for Penganga (also in Yavatmal) and stabilised there, C1 walked all the way to Dnyanganga and became famous as Walker.”

Puranik added, “There is another tigress called T3 that had one male and two female cubs fathered by T5. Of them, one of the females has now gone to Penganga where it was found to be mating with C2, who is her step brother. While Penganga, in a sense, is excited about the prospect of having its first tiger family after several decades, the flipside is that it is inbreeding in progress, which is not desirable. If this continues, we will have weaker tiger population in future.”

The authentic Walker’s lengthy journey is also seen as the tiger’s pure response to keep away from its personal gene pool similar to its seek for a secure territory. Pandharkawda tehsil has Pandharkawda divisional forest and Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, about 700 sq km and 150 sq km, respectively. Together, they account for over 40 tigers, 10 of that are residents of Tipeshwar, and 30 of the divisional forest. While the genetic stagnation is a matter of concern, the 2 tigers which have migrated to Buldhana and Aurangabad have underscored the significance of creating wildlife corridors to sort out genetic stagnation.

“Now that we know how these two tigers have walked all the way up to faraway places, the takeaway is that these corridors have to be strengthened for more such tigers to relocate themselves to areas of different genetic varieties,” Puranik stated.

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