<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tiger sightings are always an exciting affair, but for a Nagpur-based doctor on his Friday safari inside the Mansingh Deo Sanctuary near Pench Tiger Reserve, it turned out to be extremely special. He spotted a male tiger- Bali, who must have travelled from the Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary (UKWS), even crossing two national highways on the way.Incidentally, the tiger that Dr Mohammed Shariq saw and photographed is the cub of tiger Jai and Chandi and for almost a year now, its whereabouts were not known even by the Forest department. The tiger’s identity was confirmed by a group of wildlife photographers, however, the forest department said that they do not have any information pertaining to it as tiger dispersal was a natural and very common phenomenon. Shariq who loves exploring off beat jungles, not frequented by tiger-chasing tourists, said that he chose the quiet route inside the Mansingh Deo and entered the forest from the Surewani gate along with two friends who were visiting the jungle for the first time.“We entered at around 5.30 am and by around 6.40 am we saw a male tiger and it was almost walking close to the same route that we were moving on for over 45 minutes and we took several photographs as well as videos,” informed Shariq. He added that his curiosity only multiplied on seeing that the tiger was not marking its territory and despite walking for almost three kilometres, it seemed from its behaviour that it was in a completely new territory.According to Shariq, this behaviour of the tiger caught his attention and as soon as he returned from the safari, he contacted wildlife photographer Vinit Arora who has a huge database of tiger images as well as Mohammed Junaid.“We were able to confirm the identity by matching the stripe patterns that it was indeed Bali from UKWS and it had travelled around 200kms to Mansingh Deo sanctuary. It’s even more exciting as there is no proper corridor between UKWS and Mansingh Deo and this tiger must have crossed two or three national highways on its route and even several human dominated habitats,” he said.According to Shariq even the forest officials from Nagpur as well as Pench Tiger Reserve contacted him for details of the tiger and by Friday evening they confirmed that it was indeed Bali. “I am extremely delighted that one of my regular forays into the jungle helped find a missing tiger and that too the cub of the iconic Jai,” shared Shariq happily.Sarosh Lodhi from Conservation Lenses and Wildlife (CLaW) an independent group of wildlife lovers and photographers said that it was indeed good news after months of only tragic news including the death of Jai’s cub Sriniwas in April. “This tiger cub is known as Santa as well as Bali and this incident proves why tourism in wildlife areas is important as it was a tourist who ended up sighting a tiger that has been missing for several months now. This also calls for protection of tiger corridors as this tiger must have travelled through a fragmented corridor to reach Mansingh Deo,” he said.Meanwhile, officials from the Forest department denied having any knowledge about this. “For us, a tiger is a tiger, irrespective of whose cub or relative it is and forget 100 odd kilometres, these big cats are known to travel over 500 kilometres and the movement of tigers from one forest area to another is extremely common. We have no specific information about this incident,” said a senior forest official adding that such things might excite wildlife photographers, but for the forest department every single tiger was important and not individuals.

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Missing from Umred sanctuary, tiger spotted near Pench reserve by tourist