We are all fascinated by stars! Be it the ones that shine across the sky or the ones that have created a luminous path for themselves on the ground. By these, we mean the extraordinary individuals who have carved a niche for themselves in their respective fields and set themselves apart from the rest of the world. Then it could be entertainment, sports, science & technology, creative arts, journalism, food, politics, education and many such spheres of life that define our very existence. When stars are omnipresent in almost every aspect of life, how can the animal kingdom stay behind? Yes… The wildlife in the jungles and national parks have their own stars and celebrity animals! These animals are usually known by their given names and it is because of them or their antics, that national parks or zoos around the world become popular and attract tourists.
For example, Shamu the Orca (killer whale) that made the SeaWorld Entertainment Park in San Diego USA, famous in the 1960s-1970s. Giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang have managed to attract hordes of visitors at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, where they are on a 10-year loan from China. Many such star animals around the world have made a name for themselves and the national parks/zoos that they live in. They truly prove that they are celebrities in their own right!
The national parks of India are a haven for a variety of animal species but more so, they are home to the extremely popular, Bengal Tiger. The tiger forms the main attraction of wildlife safaris that are undertaken in jungles and national parks around India. Tigers roam solitary (alone), although the female tiger can sometimes be spotted with her cubs. Tigers create their own individual territories in the core zones of the jungles. These are designated areas that are replete with water resources and abundant prey that are required by the Tigers. When these designated areas are threatened by other animals or the resources get diminished, the Tigers move to the buffer zone to create new territories for themselves.
Tigers are also one of the most watched-over and protected species owing to their dwindling numbers! When new tigers are born and officially recorded in national parks, they are given specific names by the forest department of that particular state. This helps the forest department track their individual growth, progress and enables them to record their whereabouts. It also helps them understand which tigers are more prone to roaming around and making themselves visible to tourists during safaris. There are some tigers that even love public attention and are very commonly spotted during safaris. Some are famous for their incredible body strength, some are well-known due to a unique physical feature while some tigers become popular because of their antics or territory fights with other animals. These tigers are the ones that achieve celebrity status and become instantly famous in the wildlife circuit! They earn a name for themselves and the national parks they live in. Forest departments and national park authorities track the whereabouts of such tigers and post the frequency of their sightings on their official websites.
Sometimes, it is especially for these celebrity tigers that tourists visit national parks. Each of these tigers have unique names, which more often than not have a story behind them. Tiger cubs are named after their mothers, the zone they belong to, physical attributes that separate them from the others or sometimes even after the people working in the jungles or the national parks. With such an interesting history and way of life, it is without a doubt that tigers are one of the most celebrated and popular species of our jungles.
So, without further ado, let’s introduce you to the celebrity tigers of Indian National Parks:
1.) Collarwali Baghin, Pench National Park
This mighty tigress is known as the ‘Queen of the Jungle’ in the Land of Mowgli! The Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh is famous for being the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel, ‘Jungle Book’. Collarwali Baghin, a 12-year-old hefty and intelligent tigress is considered to be the star attraction of this jungle. Her unique name ‘Collarwali’ is because of a radio collar that was fitted around her neck in 2012 to track her movements. The collar is now long gone but the name stuck, giving this tigress a celebrity status, unlike any other. Much loved and protected by the forest reserve, this tigress is no less than a supermom, thanks to her 7 litters (pack of tiger cubs) and a total count of 26 tiger cubs she has given birth to, till date. She cares for her tiger cubs, provides for them and forest officials have often seen her fighting with other male tigers for their safety. Collarwali Baghin is one fearless tigress and frequently makes her appearance in front of tourists without any hesitation. Today, this queen of the jungle is the senior most tigress of the Pench National Park and one of the main highlights of the safaris.
2.) Maya, Tadoba National Park
Maya is the ruling tigress of the Tadoba forest currently! Tadoba National Park or Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is the oldest and largest national park of Maharashtra, located in the Chandrapur district near Nagpur. Maya is known as the ‘Queen of Tadoba’ due to her bold and fearless attitude and the fact that, she is not afraid to wander very close to tourist jeeps during safaris. She is mostly found in the grasslands of Pandherpauni and is a proud mother of 2 litters till date. Forest officials who have kept track of Maya since her birth in 2010, have commented that Maya belongs to an extremely happy and playful tiger family, of which she’s the most mischievous one. She was aware of the power she yielded from a very young age, which is why she expanded and took over a lot of territories in the jungle. Maya is one of those rare tigers in India that enjoys such a celebrity status and is the centre of attention for tourists, wildlife enthusiasts, nature experts and of course, the forest department. So, head to Tadoba right away and spot the mighty Maya tigress that has enchanted many and attracted them towards the jungles of Tadoba.