Summer has arrived… and so have my tours in TATR increased many folds. Taking guests from all backgrounds to the wilderness, explaining them, how nature works and also, how nature teaches us is what I keep telling them, educating them. And every time I enter the core area, I know am going to learn something new along with my guests. So keeping up with the late afternoon time, sipping buttermilk specially made, I was trying to explain some basics to my guests. Like, even for a tiger, a strong tiger, it may not be possible to achieve 100% kill ratio, and he too has to let go sometimes. But my guests were not ready to agree with my arguments. Well, Fine I said.
All geared up for this afternoon safari on 28th February 2018, our intention was to gather sight of Maya and her cubs initially. But we were rather surprised. We didn’t know that this surprise will be written in the history of Tadoba and researchers will scratch their heads to understand how this must have happened!!
Maya, the Queen of Tadoba, with her unconventional tactics, her elegance and her super confidence has already won our hearts and so has Matkasur, the hunk with his big body, aggression and raw power. With Power comes responsibility. But in wild animals? Well, we don’t know the answer!
This afternoon of 28th was real hot with temperature around 35 degrees Celsius and Matkasur was taking a nap under shade of a big tree when he noticed some movement around the bushes. No sooner did he could see who was coming towards the water-body, than he was up on his toes, and alert. Two wild sloth bears were coming for the water. This was Matkasur’s territory. Sloth bear in his territory, was kinda threat to his dominance. And his tiger instincts had already made him decide what he was up to next.
Whoa! this was something unique. With their basic instincts, tiger fierce fully protect their territory. If required, they fight and kill the aggressor, who so ever, it may be. And here the so called aggression was on Matkasur’s territory. The KING’s territory!
Matkasur, who recently fathered two cubs of Maya is a changed man of Tadoba now. Earlier, he was a raw power alone and now he too is learning strategies pretty fast from his lady love Maya, to say the least. But today was a different day. Maya wasn’t with him!
What was going on in the mind of lady bear? Am sure, she wasn’t intending to throw this king out of his territory and establish her reign there. But here she was, head on with a heavy-duty 7 year old mature and powerful tiger. Oh wait, she also had her cub following her a few feets behind.
She knew she had a weak link there. Her Options ?
Before the mother bear could even think of options before them, our handsome hunk was already walking towards them to show some Hero-giri. Mother bear, mature and stable. Matkasur challenged her and she signaled her cub to go away at safe distance.
The stage was set. Matkasur had challenged Mother Bear for aggression on to his territory. Mother Bear was there basically for quenching her thirst and some comfort. Seeing Matkasur challenging her had rung few threat bells in her mind. Is the baby Bear target for this tiger? Oh, wait. Not Today. Not before he kills me, for sure. She thought.
Me, my guests, and host of other people were stunned to see this development happening within 40 seconds flat. Our life was changed forever and no one was complaining. Pin Drop silence which was sometimes bothered by sound of camera clicks.
Right from the beginning they fought fiercely. One was proving dominance on the territory while other had some strong maternal instincts which was so much visible. For her child, mother can really stand up to any adversary, ANY. Only mother knows, how much courage they gather to so much fierce-fully protect their child. Nature…. Mother Nature it is!
At one point, Matkasur had it. Mother Bear was totally down, and out. Matkasur had her wind pipe chocked for quite some time. And we were all thinking, the game is over for the mother bear. But alas, only in our thoughts. Mother Bear was so strong…. She used all four legs with strong nails and used them at will all over Matkasur around his soft tissues & stomach. Wow!! Now this is clever thinking.
At some point, it hurt Matkasur and his grip loosened. Mother Bear was free making most of that vulnerable point. But both of them were fighting. And fighting…. Finally Mother Bear started dis-engaging from Matkasur once he was being pushed towards water body, as if telling him, keep your water body territory with yourself but if you come after my kiddo, you won’t see another Sunrise Dude !! For 3-4 times, Matkasur was chasing her towards bushes, and every time mother Bear was threatening Matkasur till he reached back ceding the land till water body. Message was clear. She never wanted his territory. Afterwards, perhaps, Matkasur too knew it, she didn’t come to threaten his kingdom or kids and maya for that matter…
He learnt it with some good bruises whole body. Pains. Big bites on his face. Yes. Mother Bear had a lot of wounds on her neck, leg, back… but she was pretty comfortable walking strong. And mature too.
Today again this incident got better of me. Irrespective of how much perfect, strong you are, if you get it in your head, Mother Nature has ways to bring you down with a lesson. Today, Matkasur learnt it on the job and a hard way!! My guests who were excited, frightened, and stunned at the same time agreed with me when we reached back our hotel. This whole drama lasted for say 15-20 mins but it was once in lifetime lesson for all of us, for sure.
Generally, it is very difficult for any animal to get free from Jaws of tiger. She got herself alive from Jaws of Matkasur…. THE Matkasur! Perhaps, this was first beating which Matkasur took after so many months. His Numero Uno Ego was well hurt by the Bear. And rightfully. But after 10 mins in water, this handsome hunk was back in his Mojo and the royal walk, fiery eyes and all !! He is the real KING and also the SUPERSTAR of Tadoba !!
Perhaps, he was singing
आसमा भी हारता है, ज़मी पे वक़्त गुजारता है,
फिर से उन उंचाइयो की चाह में !
ना डरेगा दिल, इन इन्तेहानो से,
फिर लडेगा दिल दो जहानों से
जीतने के लिए !! जीतने के लिए !!!