© 2007 Juan Manuel Parra
As the sun majestically set to the west of the Periyar National Park, Bhim and Bhavesh said their good-byes, for they would now part for their evening hunts. Hindi for fearful, Bhim was always the shy one among the two because of his lack of confidence in hunting due to his white coloring. However, he made up for it with his superior agility. The prey might notice him with the lack of camouflage, but his prey was dead before they got a chance to escape. The go-getter, Bhavesh, Hindi for lord of the world, was extremely strong, winning most of their tussles when they were just young cubs.
“Sunrise tomorrow at the stream,” called Bhim as he headed toward the entrance of the park. He enjoyed hunting there because he was most successful in rushing the sambar deer that congregated near the miniature lake.
“Hopefully we won’t be disturbed tonight,” replied Bhavesh as he worked his way in the direction of the major waterway that ran through the center of the reserve. He was hoping that the water buffalo would reside there this night, for the past several hunts they were mysteriously absent. Also, he could hear all-terrain vehicles in the distance for quite a few days now.
Poachers…No. There hadn’t been that kind of a threat for up to seven years now. Twelve years old now, Bhavesh had experienced a lot with Bhim. They had been together ever since their youth. They had the same father but different mothers, which made them half brothers. Their father was Baldev, Hindi for godlike in power, and he was in charge of a home range or a habitat of approximately 15 square miles. Their mothers lived on different sides of Baldev’s land, but Bhavesh and Bhim managed to find each other one day.
© 2006 KungFuStu
It was a hot and humid day with a little breeze coming down from the mountaintops of the Western Ghats. It was at least two months after their births because the both of them had reduced the suckling of their mother's milk and started eating raw meat. Bhavesh somehow got away from his two siblings as their mother and they were trudging along the river. Bhim meanwhile was racing one of his siblings when suddenly he realized his brother had stopped 100 yards ago. They were both lost and in need of company. "Mama!" they both cried. The hot sun beat on their insulating fur. Hearing each others' cries they assumed it was one of their brothers crying for him in the distance. They ran in the direction of the cries, but all of a sudden they knocked into each other full force.
Scared, Bhim yelped and leaped behind a boulder. Bhavesh inquisitively remarked, “It’s alright I’m just as scared as you. I’ve never seen such interesting colors before on a tiger.”
“You think, Mom says it will do me no good when I get older.” A growling sound came nearby. “Papa!” they both yelled as they turned to the sound.
“Papa?” they questioned their responses to their father's cries for them in the distance. Bhim said, “What are you talking about that’s my father.” Bhavesh replied, “Are you crazy, that’s my dad, Baldev the Great.” Soon the petty argument developed into an all out brawl.
“What is this? Play fighting between two of my sons at this age shouldn’t be this rough!” Baldev boomed with his voice as he broke the two up.
“Sons!” the youngsters exclaimed.
“Why yes you two might have different mothers, but you are both sons of mine, so you are half brothers. I hope that’s alright with you two. I’d hate to have to separate such fun loving siblings and be forced to tell your mothers about this incident,” Baldev ordered.
“Of course not father,” the half brothers replied.
“Alright, now you two go off and play. If you are to get lost just go to the sound of the rushing water…Your mothers are probably by the river.” The two accepted the words of their father and ran toward the river. Thus began an eternal bond between the two.
The moon was not out this night, making it very difficult for Bhavesh to see his prey in the distance, but he sensed them. Several miles away, Bhim was encountering the same problem, yet his white coloring was now less visible under the cover of complete darkness. He could hear the sambar deer’s calls in a nearby clearing and he was close enough that their acute hearing could sense him if he made a sound. From behind the brush, Bhim began to stalk the deer in a low position, crawling in their direction. 40…30…20. Now 15 yards away from his prey he was ready to pounce. He could make out the figures in the clearing which were oblivious to the proximity of their predator. Propelling his 10 foot long body into the air, he took advantage of his overwhelming agility, picking out the slowest of the startled sambar deer. He did not care if it was male, female, or fawn, for nevertheless it would be meat. Grabbing hold of the laboring deer by the neck he quickly latched onto its vital organs, instantly killing the animal as its family pranced away.
Bhavesh would not have it that easy. He was at the calmer section of the main waterway that ran through the preserve. The water buffalo did not want to get caught by a bengal tiger in a loud area of the river. The sound of rushing water gave a high advantage to the predator as it approached. Bhavesh also made sure to stay downwind of the buffalo because he did not want them to catch his scent. If the wind changed, the hunt, otherwise known as the rush, would be foiled.
Tonight there was an abnormal number of water buffalo which made Bhavesh remember back to the last time something like this occurred. It was a little over seven years ago when the park was not as protected. The threat of poachers was always prominent.
It was during the rainy season, categorized by the word monsoon. Bhavesh and Bhim had not been that successful in their hunts, and it seemed as though something or someone was disturbing the normal movements of their prey. The two were walking along the river with Bhim’s sister Bandhura (pretty in Hindi) when they caught the scent of wood burning about a quarter mile away. Always curious Bhavesh decided to check out the nearby activity, yet Bhim of course was not as eager. Bandhura was always at Bhavesh’s side, so she ran ahead with him.
Bhim was following around 50 feet behind when he heard a gut wrenching cry ahead. When he got to the two, he witnessed Bandhura’s leg caught in a trap the size of his head. Within minutes they heard a great commotion coming from the camp nearby. Soon they could see all terrain vehicles approaching at full speed. Bhavesh quickly took charge distracting the poachers so Bhim could help Bandhura away from the site. However, it was not just the threat of the jeeps but the rifles in the hands of those on the top of them that could potentially endanger Bhavesh. Soon Bhavesh was under fire and forced to leap into the brush on the side of the road. He met up with a fearful Bhim and a sick Bandhura, but he knew just the place to go where they would not be harmed. Baldev showed it to the two of them when they were little ones.
It took them around an hour to get to the waterfall at the end of the park. Behind the falling water was a small cave where they could hide for the time being. The place was good at stopping the poachers in their tracks for the water and rocks showed no evidence of their path. Finding them on land would prove to be an easier task, for the hunters would just follow the troop’s footprints, otherwise known as pugmarks.
Bandhura’s leg was surely broken, but even more crucial was the infection she was developing. They would stay there for the next couple of days. They couldn’t do anything to help their sister and mate and she died on the third day. Bhim and Bhavesh chose to leave her there, yet at least the poachers didn’t get to her. They would do unimaginable things with her for the money. Her fur would have been sold for thousands, her bones and eyeballs for potions, medicines, even glue. However, there would be a crackdown on poaching in the park, eliminating its threat indefinitely.
© 1996-2007 Holly Webber
Bhavesh now had to focus. He had to tackle one of the water buffalo before the wind shifted in their favor. He slid into the water deftly and waded through the 3 foot deep river with careful ease. Now no less than 10 feet from the five or so that waded just as he did, he made the decision to rush the older slower one nearest to him. Flying out of the water, frightening the group, Bhavesh latched onto the back of the heavy lumbering beast with all of his 30 teeth, sinking his four-inch canine teeth into his prey’s neck. The water buffalo put up a fight flipping Bhavesh back into the water, yet Bhavesh was much more conditioned than the water buffalo, countering his prey’s defense with an even stronger offensive move. It wasn’t long until the prey lost its energy, and Bhavesh dragged it onto the bank where he gave it one last lethal blow. Tired and hungry, the 10 foot long Bengal Tiger began to eat his prey. In that sitting he might eat more than 85 pounds of the carcass. Although they were not with each other, the two half brothers were joyful in their bountiful feasts.
The next morning the two both hid their leftover meals in a location under grass and leaves, free from any of the scavengers that might look for a little bite. They met up at a little stream that extended out of the major river that ran through the park. Most of the female Bengal Tigers from other families congregated there during the daytime. Bhim might have been timid in frightening situations, but when it came to the tigresses he was not bashful. At the prime age of 12 he already had two cubs and a substantial territory inherited from Baldev several years ago. Bhavesh on the other hand was very close to Bandhura, and when she was killed he was never very aggressive when it came to courting the females. He was currently the strongest male in the entire park, fighting off and defeating the rival tigers that challenged him for the very large home range he occupied. Tigresses always wanted him to be the father of their future cubs, but he never loved a female as much as he had adored Bandhura. Despite his lack of commitment he did have one cub on the way with a tigress named Bhamini. Just as her name meant in Hindi, she was very beautiful, yet she was short tempered and impatient with Bhavesh. Nevertheless, Bhim and Bhavesh were highly recognized among the troop of Bengal Tigers in Periyar National Park.
When they met at the stream they were the only ones present. “Where is everybody?” remarked Bhim to a perplexed and concerned Bhavesh.
“Something’s wrong here. Usually everyone is here by this time. We should go near the entrance,” Bhavesh replied calmly.
The two rushed in the direction of the park entrance, and they heard a lot of commotion in the distance. When they finally arrived they expected to see a whole slew of danger like hunters and possibly even poachers. However, they were met with a large group of workers rebuilding the broken down road that ran through the park. Periyar National Park was trying to make the reserve more inviting to the new form of environmental awareness called ecotourism.
The half-brothers were relieved to see that the abnormalities of the past few days had nothing to do with a threat to their environment. On the other hand, it was actually something to benefit the environment, increasing the knowledge of the endangered Bengal Tiger species. Tigers in general used number in the tens of thousands in Southern Asia, yet currently there are only a couple thousand left in the wild. Reserves like Periyar National Park help the conservation effort by providing a nurturing, safe environment where Bengal Tigers can thrive.
After noticing the new work about to be done to the park, Bhavesh and Bhim decided to go back to the stream. When they returned, they basked in the sun and roughed around with each other. Life was wonderful for them with plentiful food, a protected environment, and brotherly love. Nothing could break up the everlasting bond between these two fun loving Bengal brothers.
It's Jumble Time!!!
Directions: Unscramble the letters of the words to reveal the answers to these Bengal Tiger questions.
- What is the name for the habitat that the male controls?
- What does the cub do for nourishment?
- What do poachers do with illegal goods?
- What is Periyar National Park a form of?
- What will happen to the Bengal Tiger population if not protected?
- What is the rainy season called in Asia?
- What are used to track Bengal Tigers?
- What kind of environment are Bengal Tigers found in?
- Where is the Periyar National Park located?
- What are the Hindi meanings for our two Bengal buds?
Bhavesh- kgliedo ni eworp
Answers- No peeking!
- home range
- pug marks
- Kerala, India
- Bhim- fearful
Bhavesh- godlike in power
Information on the Internet
- Destinations India - Periyar National Park This has some great info on Bengal Tigers and their habitats in India.
- Indian Tiger Welfare Society Another good site for research about Bengal Tigers, especially like our white tiger friend Bhim
- Tiger Homes-White Tiger good information on white tigers
- Dreamworld Tiger Island