T1C1 is known to have walked 1300kms from Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Yavatmal district to become the first tiger to reach Dnyanganga Wildlife Sanctuary in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra, India
A tiger, fitted with a tracker, has walked 1,300km (807 miles) in India in five months.
Bilal Habib, senior biologist at the Wildlife Institute of India, said it is the longest a tiger is known to have walked anywhere in India. “We know this because T1C1 is radio-collared,” Habib said, reported Indian Express. “It’s clear that with shrinking space, we need to redraft policy to ensure safety of tigers like T1C1.”
“The tiger is possibly looking for territory, food and a mate. Most of the potential tiger areas (in India) are full and new tigers have to explore more,” Dr Habib told BBC News.
The animal is known to have walked from Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Yavatmal district to become the first tiger to reach Dnyanganga Wildlife Sanctuary in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra, India on Sunday (local time).
The tiger appears to have only stopped for four or five days when he made a kill, mostly of wild pigs and cattle. Maharashtra Chief Wildlife Warden Nitin Kakodkar said the tiger didn’t travel in a linear fashion but moved back and fourth several times, over farmlands, water bodies and highways, adding hundreds of kilometres to his journey. T1C1 is being tracked through GPS satellite information every hour and has been recorded in more than 5,000 locations in the past nine months.
The tiger came into conflict with humans once, when he “accidentally injured” one person who was part of a group that entered a thicket where the tiger was resting.
T1C1 was one of three male cubs born to T1, a female tiger in Tipeshwar wildlife sanctuary, home to 10 tigers. He was radio-collared in February under a project called ‘Studying Dispersal Pattern of Tigers in the Eastern Vidarbha Landscape of Maharashtra’. He continued to roam the forests until the onset of monsoon rains to “find a suitable area to settle”.
The animal left the sanctuary at the end of June, and since then has travelled through seven districts in Maharashtra and the neighbouring state, Telangana. He was found in another wildlife sanctuary in Maharashtra. Dr Habib said the fact that T1C1 had made its way to a protected area made his future secure.
“A tiger needs three things to become stable at any place — space, food and mate. Dnyanganga has space and enough preybase, though if T1C1 doesn’t find a mate, it might keep walking further,” he said.
Wildlife officials said that the tiger may need to be captured and relocated to the nearest forest to “avoid any untoward accidents”. They also fear they will lose communication with the animal in the near future as the battery of the radio collar has been drained by 80%.
Tiger numbers have increased dramatically in India – 70% of the world’s tigers now live in India – but their habitat has shrunk and prey is not always plentiful.