Sabyasachi Patra

Bandhavgarh Tigress Runover by Jeep

Bandhavgarh Tigress Dead!

Anyone who is born is destined to die. However, one feels sad when a young soul passes away. You feel annoyed when you realise that the premature death is due to rash driving.

The bandhavgarh tigress who was recently runover by a jeep from a file picture

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

And I am sure, you would be devastated when you realise that this rash driving has orphaned three small kids who can’t fend for themselves.

The Jhurjhura tigress pauses while drinking to look at source of sound

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh drinking water

Precisely that has happened in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

Sabyasachi 20070510 0438

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

The Jhurjhura tigress who had three small cubs have been felled by an errant jeep. The cubs hardly five months old, are too young to fend for themselves. And no other tigress can play the role of a surrogate mother and teach them hunting skills.

And now look at the tragedy of the absurd being played out in Bandhavgarh.

Initially, the forest department denied that the jhurjhura tigress was killed. The Field director was quoted as saying that a male tiger has been killed. Then he said that the death is due to fighting with another tiger.

It was an egregious blunder from the Field Director, as fighting with another tiger would have left behind deep wounds, unlike the present case where external wounds were not found on the body of the tigress. Then it was said that the tigress died due to possible drowning or poisoning. Then they said that the tigress is not the jhurjhura tigress but its daughter from its previous litter aged 30 months.

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

In the meanwhile, the Forest department had identified 11 vehicles that had gone in those routes and brought the guides and drivers of those vehicles for questioning. It should be noted, that in each vehicle one guide is mandatorily given by the forest department. It was said that the forest department would seize the vehicles.

The markings in the face and the body clearly established that the tigress is indeed the Jhurjhura tigress. I have been photographing her for many years and have seen her raise successive litters to adulthood. I can easily recognize her image from front as well as sides. I used to joke that I have an annual date with her in the waters of Bandhavgarh. I can remember her careful foot steps during stalking when the hind leg exactly falls on the place vacated by the fore leg. I have been privy to watch her shower motherly love on her cubs. She is ready to admonish her cubs when required. She often used to show annoyance whenever tourists intrude into her privacy. My life has been filled with some pleasant memories of her.

Today, I feel a sense of tremendous loss. I feel a sense of shame, shame of having been born in the same race as the insensitive criminals who hit the tigress and the criminals who are helping cover up the crime.

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

I feel disturbed, when I see that a majority of wildlife photographers and tour agents, who routinely enjoy clicking the images of this beautiful tigress and sharing the images in photo sharing sites, are today silent. Perhaps, they have moved on in life? Ready to enjoy the moment till it lasts? Is this the trait of the human species?

Or is it because the culprits are supposed to be powerful individuals that people have chickened out? Are we so fearful of the powerful and the influential?

I feel annoyed watching this theater of the absurd. And I feel disturbed watching the studied silence of the papparazi – the wildlife photographers – who were hounding her and her cubs when she was alive.

Remembering the moments of bliss that I had experienced with her, I am sharing a few images here.

May God Bless Her!

Sabyasachi

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

 

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

Jhurjhura Tigress, Bandhavgarh

Jhurjhura tigress cools itself by splashing water

Jhurjhura tigress cools itself by splashing water

Jhurjhura tigress

Jhurjhura tigress

Would love to hear your feedback and comments about this article on ‘Jhurjhura Tigress’ in the comments below.

Sabyasachi Patra

Sabyasachi is an award winning DoP/Cinematographer, passionate wildlife filmmaker and photographer. He has been striving to make his films and photographs full of life and emotion and write articles to educate and evangelise the need for conserving the last tracts of vanishing wilderness and wildlife in our country. He hopes that his wildlife films, photographs and writings force people to pause, look, ponder and ultimately take action.
His documentary film ‘A Call in the Rainforest’ has been screened at various national and international film festivals.

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