Story of a tigress caught between Kareena and Aishwarya
Rarely, it happens in wild. A tigress, forest officials’ claims, glamourising lives of Bollywood’s two top actresses — Kareena Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
The connection sounds strange. Even bizarre. Not for forest officials in Panna tiger reserve. They believe T-4, a captive bred tigress, who gave birth to two cubs recently, has transformed from Kareena to Aishwarya in less than a year.
T-4 had lost her mother six years ago in a territorial fight after which she and her two siblings were kept in an enclosure in Kanha national sanctuary. They were trained to kill by letting in prey population.
They were growing and looking for bigger open space but the enclosure restricted their movement. It also resulted in they attacking each other, which had T-4’s brother injured in one such nasty brawl. All the three had gained lot of weight but the restriction on movement and limited hunting.
In March 2011, the forest officials decided to shift T-4 and her sister to Panna tiger reserve about 250 kms away and male tiger was shifted to Van Vihar, Bhopal. The translocation happened successfully.
Once in Panna, the two tigresses were put on around the clock monitoring through a Global Positioning System. It was then the forest officials started observing the two sisters.
“T-4 was more naughty and beautiful of the two. She had a sharp nose and a V-face,” said Panna Tiger Reserve director RS Murthy.
At that time she was fat and was very slow. Being on their own in the wild took a toll on the two felines. T-4 started losing weight and in few weeks she attained “size zero”, an amazing performance. As she lost weight, forest officials were stuck by her stunning looks, her sexy walk in the forest pool, her swift speed and her seldom shyness.
Her scintillating performance in the forest in Panna was no less than of Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor, also known for her skinny looks, on the big screen. As a forest guard said she became Kareena of Panna, her popular name them.
“My God she was just like Kareena,” recalled Murthy.
Then, she met her boyfriend, T-3, the only male tiger in Panna and proud father of all eight cubs in the reserve. Within days they started mating and T-4 was quick to conceive.
It was then transformation from Kareena to Aishwarya started but the entire record is not available with the forest department as T-4 lost her radio collar, through which GPS monitoring is done. But, the manual record available of twice in a week throws some light. As per the description, she started gaining weight and her striped cheeks start glowing like Aishwarya. Another striking similarity is the timing of the birth of their kids.
Both delivered their babies in November (Aishwarya on November 11) but the exact date for T-4 is now known. Birth of T-4 cubs was confirmed only on 14 February when pugmarks of cubs with the mother were spotted and verified. Their photos are yet to be taken unlike baby Bachchan, whose photos are believed to have been sold for a hefty amount.
The two cubs — created a global first of being children of captive bred tigress — may have survival problems as Panna’s present landscape cannot support more than 10 tigers. There are already 13 — five founders and eight cubs — and territorial fight among them have already started. The sole male tiger last week mauled the younger sister of T-4.
The ‘Tigreetings’ from Panna may not last long if the Madhya Pradesh government fail to acquire additional forest land — called buffer zone — to accommodate the growing population.