A winter report of tiger sightings in Kanha Tiger Reserve – Season 2022/23

Park opened as usual on the 1st of October after the 3 months restoration. In the last three seasons, we faced very disturbing tourism in Kanha due to covid-19. Things are getting smoother after the pandemic and we are hoping a stable season.

Mukki has been very famous for the last few seasons not only because of the big males’ presence in the area but also the famous females of this zone, like Matriach CM (Choti mada), DJ (Dhawajhandi female), Mv3 & tedhi pooch.

From the start of this new season, Mv-3 was seen with 2 cubs who were already 6-7 months old and CM with one female who is almost a year old. Choti mada’s was not growing in size what a tiger should be, she was a tiny little cub at the age of 8/9 months but this season she looked quite big after 3 months of park closing, it was a nice feeling to see her mother, and cub doing well, though the CM is currently the oldest female of the park and this might be her last litter. Sharmili was seen with one cub from starting of this season, and another female called Bijali with the same shy nature is well settled in the chital fireline area. There is one more female (T-101) who is being sighted very frequently near mukki gate and she is supposed to be the daughter of Algi Dadar female.

Alas! It’s been 2 weeks after opening the park and still, there is no news of DJ ‘the star female of mukki zone’.  This was something to worry about for all guides, nats & drivers, most sighted females of mukki zone have not been seen so far.

The good news came on the 14th of October when Dj was sighted marking the territory in her favorite area, it looked like she recently delivered, which was the reason for her missing for the past few days. This is her 4th litter but still no sign of cubs.


Dhawajandhi female DJ tigress of Kanha

Image Credits: https://tigersinthewild.org/2019/05/04/my-tigers-of-kanha/


On a fine morning on 12th of December Dhawajhandi had been sighted with 5 tiny cubs who were hardly 2 months near babathenga, what a joy it was to her with 5 cubs. The news was spread like a jungle fire on social media. In Kanha average litter size is 2-4 cubs but having 5 cubs is quite rare. The last record of a female with 5 cubs was some 15 years ago, where a female called Indri female who was having 5 cubs. All cubs of dj were growing faster and looked healthy as per last sighting report.

On another hand, there is the very good movement of males in mukki, Nela nala male, Db3, baishangaht female, Db1, and Pattewala male. Though pattewala is not a resident male, he keeps moving between the core to the buffer area. Nela nala male is still covering the same area mukki and Kanha zone. Apart from these familiar males there 2 new males sighted in mukki who were not identified as per our database. On a surprise note baishanghat male has increased his territory a lot and started covering the whole zone from mukki gate to khapa camp, except babathenga and the district line area, but tracking him is a most difficult job due to his vast territory.

Overall there are 20 plus tigers in mukki zone if we include the cubs and its going to be a fantastic summer this season.

Kanha and Kisli zones are also doing well and picked up nicely after the opening of the park. The main surprise of the season was the sighting of Naina who had not been sighted for almost for a year. The queen of meadow Neelam is also doing well in her old area. She is also spotted with a litter of 4 cubs recently. Neelam was ruling the Kanha meadow for last 4-5 years but now she has a contender ‘Mohini’ the daughter of Naina from last litter. She has started coming to kanha meadow and trying to push Neelam away, she already had a tussle with Neelam where the forest department had to intervene and give her some medical assistance.

Bhuindabra is the dominant male of Kanha and he has started exploring more areas in kisli too, he should be the father of Neelam’s current litter. Jr. Bajrang has been moved more towards kisli and sarhi zone this season and reported being sighted many times on that side only not in Kanha meadow.

In kisli zone db2 has almost claimed himself as king of the zone after his fight with Yuvraj last season. He has started exploring more area towards sarhi and kanha zone where he alredy met jr. Bajarnag and Balwan. Apart from these males, there is a good sighting of district line females (T-58) in kisli zone.

Overall its going to be a great season for all Kanha’s lovers, since there are many females with cubs and many males are ready to claim their kingdom. Sadly there are no new of “UAMRPANI THE LEGEND” and jamuntola, but its the law of nature that there is no place for old and weak.

Will come up with a full report of tiger sightings soon towards the end of this season, till then stay tuned!

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Sharad Vats

Born and brought up in New Delhi, it was Sharad’s childhood passion to play cricket for India. While on a holiday in 1990, he saw his first tiger. Little did he know that this one sighting would immerse him into a realm where forests and tigers were all that mattered. Sharad’s experiences as a wildlife photographer have inspired him to observe the tiger’s behavior for over 30 years and motivated him on his own journey as an entrepreneur. He started Nature Safari India Pvt Ltd, with a focus on “Conservation through Tourism.” to align himself to the mission of saving the regal species and repopulating them in India’s forests. In 2006, he set up one of India’s premier jungle lodges in Kanha National Park. Sharad believes that there are many lessons to be learned from a tiger that can be applied successfully to leadership—both in business and in life. Here's a new book by Sharad Vats on management and leadership skills to learn from a Tiger. Buy now on Amazon