Tigress found dead in Ranthambhore

Yesterday afternoon (1st September 2008) the carcass of a tigress was found in the Guda area, that lies at the southern end of the Ranthambore national park. This tigress was known as the Guda female (see image below) and was over 10 years old – an old age for wild tigers – and had two cubs that would slightly younger than a year in age. The cubs are missing and even as I write this the forest department officials are trying their hardest to find the two cubs.


According to the forest department sources the carcass of this tigress was found in the early afternoon yesterday in a highly decomposed state. She was probably dead for over two days. The forest department officials cremated the body after conducting an autopsy. The autopsy report is yet to be released and probably never will be, at least the likes of me will never see it.

It is being made out by official sources (and the national media has really lapped it up) that she died in a “territorial fight” with another tiger. The Press Trust of India (PTI) newline says “Rise in Tiger population in Rajasthan’s Ranthambore Sanctuary seems to have given rise to “territory wars” among the predators…………………….. the Ranthambore national park, spread over 400 sq km is busting with robust tiger population. As per a 2007 census, the number of stripped animals have increased from 25 in 2005 to 32 last year. The figure excludes cubs, whose number is estimated to be around 14.”

I would like to clarify the following:

1. The Ranthambhore national park is spread over an area of 282 square kilometers and not 400, as PTI (India’s leading new agency claims – come on guys get your facts right).

2. The official census data of 2005 claimed 26 tigers in Ranthambhore and not 25. The real figure at that time was 13 adults and 5 cubs (all below the age of 6 months).

3. The census figures for last year were 32 (released early last year) and this census was the most exhaustive one ever undertaken. This figure of 32 included all the cubs. After these figures were released 8 more cubs were born and two of these (the cubs of the Guda tigress) are missing.

4. The tiger numbers have definitely increased in Ranthambhore, in fact they bounced back from a near calamity. But Ranthambhore is not (by any standard) “busting” with tigers. Ranthambhore national park and the two adjoining areas where the tigers spread to (the Sawai Man Singh sanctuary and the Sawai Madhopur sanctuary” can easily accommodate over 40 adult tigers. This was the number that existed in 2001. Right now there are about 22 (I may be off by 10% plus or minus) adults and that is not “busting” at all.

Rajasthan’s leading regional Hindi newspaper – Rajasthan Patrika – also adds that the forest department is not ruling out death due to poisoning and had sent the viscera for investigation into this angle. This is really interesting.


The area around Guda and further south (outside the national park – where there is little protection for wild life) of it is the beginning of the “Ranthambhore tiger death zone” – I mean that’s where 15 or more tiger have disappeared in the last 4 years. There are a few “forest unfriendly” villages in that area and few large settlements of former hunting gathering tribes (Mogiyas, Bagariyas and Kanjar).
The Guda tigress shares her area with a few villages. Her territory overlaps with that of two male tigers – one is her son from the last litter and the other is the father of her new litter (the two cubs who are missing right now). It is highly unlikely that she was killed in a fight with one of these two tigers. Her present mate would not fight her and her son dare not.


I don’t know how she died but I would bet my cameras (the most precious possession that I have) that it was not because of a territorial fight.

9 thoughts on “Tigress found dead in Ranthambhore

  1. I was reading the article the other day and noticed that the organs of the tigress were not removed, which ruled out poaching. Thank god that her cubs, according to Salim Ali, are fine.

  2. Dear Dicky
    My wife and I witnessed this magnificent tigress make a kill on the 25th April 2008. It was the most remarkable thing we had ever seen. I was in the process of gathering information for a College assignment on the subject when I stumbled across your report. The tears are flowing and my heart is breaking, please keep up the good work, these creatures do not have a chance unless the truth is told.

  3. Wonderful job being done Dicky.Iam eager to know from you latest information on the tigress and tiger translocated in Sariska and what has happened to the proposal of shifting second tigress.What is most probable tiger population in Ranthambhore?

  4. Dear Dicky,
    Since stumbling over your website a few months ago, I am very impressed with the information that you have to share with those of us who also care deeply for the plight of Indian tigers. I am unfortunately unable to visit India , but follow all the news on your site.
    What has happened to Machli the tigress? Is she still alive ?
    I look forward to your updates.

  5. Dear Dicky,
    Your site provides excellent information. I will be in Bharatpur in January and was planning a trip to Ranthambore for a Tiger safari. What are my chances of seeing a Tiger at this time of year? I am trying to decide whether I should make the trip or not and I am running out of time to organize the logistics. Any information or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,

  6. My dear Dicky, I am not getting any information as to whether any of the two tigresses translocated (along with a Tiger) to Sariska from Ranthambhore has given birth to cub(s)or is expecting.With full of SOUND and FURY they claimed it as a historical event never enacted before on our mother earth ,but what is the RESULT? I am too eager to know.Another drama is being enacted in PANNA even after caution expressed me and many others where the translocated male tiger is reportedly moving away (for safety!) towards his ancestral home in Pench. Only you cal tell us the latest position.I think the People living near THE SUNDARBANS T.R are more enlightend even after konwing nearly 25% of tigers here are dreaded MANEATERS. No harm has been caused to about 6-7 tigers sraying into the villages in 2009. Kind regards, SAKTIPADA PANIGRAHI, SALT LAKE, KOLKATA

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