On 26th February 07, I was on my trail in the Buffer Zone, looking for some birds for my check list. As I was moving around the park boundary, I heard alarm calls of a â€˜langurâ€™ (Black faced monkey). I suddenly became curious to know why monkeys were making loud alarm calls.
I thought that the sounds were possibly being made due to a leopard sighting, as many a times this usually turns out to be the reason. Hence, I almost imagined that the leopard was indeed around. I started moving towards the origin of the sound.
As I moved closer, I saw Mr. Mahobiya, (Deputy Forest Ranger) frantically waving his hands towards me. I went close to him and was informed that the tigressâ€™s cubs were around in the area. We then decided to inform all about the same so that they did not venture out of their rooms. This was important to avoid confrontation and a possible attack. Only a few days ago the tigers had killed a lady.
The Deputy Ranger communicated location of the tigers to all through his wireless set. They were sitting next to a mango tree behind "Kabir Ashram". Even my Mahout "Jhano", who was one of the best in the profession, confirmed the tigersâ€™ locations. He started moving towards tigers along with his elephant. The tiger cubs were indeed sitting under the mango tree behind as anticipated. I kept standing on the same place with Assistant Ranger Mr. Mahobiya.
After five minutes we all started moving towards where â€œJhanoâ€ had gone with his elephant. After walking for approximately ten minutes we all saw the elephant hurling sand in nearby bushes. As the bushes were thick, we could not see what lay hidden there. Nonetheless, we kept probing in the area with utter curiosity.
Suddenly two cubs emerged out of the bushes and started running towards the park boundary and subsequently went inside, apparently petrified. After sometime we saw them sitting on rock, staring at us. I kept watching them for fifteen minutes, while standing next to the elephant. We were sure that cubs would not attack us as they would fear the elephant, which was our only source of protection.
While looking at the cubs, I was trying to sketch there behaviour in my mind. I was thinking that one day the cubs might turn into man eaters, as they continued staring at us for a long time and finally mock charged at us. While all other people ran away on seeing the cubs, I sternly kept standing, without showing any sign of movement. They soon retreated realising the overpowering presence of â€˜Badheniâ€™ the elephant. I was now sure in my mind that some day these cubs would become man eaters.
Towards sunset of 27th Februaryâ€™ 07, after 6:00 PM, I was in the warmth of my resting room and giving instructions to people for next dayâ€™s planning. As I moved a bit, I heard alarm calls of a spotted deer, which was coming continuously from the park boundary. I felt worried and thought that the cubs were in the near vicinity and were definitely a cause for concern. I imagined that soon they would attack some body in the village. But to my complete satisfaction, the alarm calls stopped as it grew darker.
Next day in the early morning â€˜Mahenderâ€™, our driver came to me and said that the tiger cubs along with their mother had crossed the park boundary and were sitting in â€˜Nalahâ€™ across, with â€˜Badheniâ€™ and â€˜Jhanoâ€™ keeping a watchful eye throughout the night. I drove to that point in my gypsy and confirmed the same. I was now convinced that the cubs had indeed crossed over the park boundary and would not harm any man now.