Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Madonna’s Baby Mystery

Over a month passed since Madonna’s supposed delivery of cubs on Oct 9th and we still had no idea of how many cubs she gave birth to and what gender they were. One thing we were certain was that she gave birth. I was asked by countless people as to why I was certain. Yes, I am certain, I'd say. Because I have experienced seven previous births and this is the eighth and by now I am pretty certain of their behaviour. However, at the back of my mind, I worried!

What if a predatory bird or reptile has also taken a cub or two? This happened to 327’s first cub born by Cathay.  These new cubs were also born in complete nature and have been growing up in a huge area with a little stream going through it lined with dense trees, far removed from human access. I was too worried that the cubs, if cornered in our effort to count them, may dash into the river and drown. We have neither heard a cry nor witnessed a shadow of these new-borns, also sired by 327 and they carry with them precious genetic materials left by their dad who got killed in September. I was worried sick: what if the cubs accidently fell into the river and drowned? We couldn’t possibly know as they are completely in the hands of nature. But I also had complete faith in Madonna. I knew she was looking after them. I could tell from her continuous mysterious ways of emerging and disappearing back into the dense covers.  

We were monitoring Huwaa and King Henry this afternoon. He has been so gentle and kind with little Huwaa, putting up with her antics and answering her constant and energetic tease with such grace, even though he knows she is too young to be his girlfriend. But when it comes to food, he was not so generous and even steal hers when he still has his. Otherwise he has been a good mentor.  Having been fed with a warthog this morning, I was wondering where KH was hiding himself and his prize, and if he had shared any with Huwaa when I heard his loud roars coming from the other side of the stream which also flows through the neighbouring camp that Madonna currently resides.

I was asking myself why he roared, and decided that it must be him calling for females to mate as he had also demonstrated sextual maturity a few months ago when he was seen mounting his sister Princess when suddenly loud cries of baby tigers came from Madonna’s camp! Looking across the fence, I saw, in a little open area on the river bank, one tiny little tiger crying his heart out!  Although the cries sounded as if they were caused by two sources, I could however only find one cub through my binoculars. But there got to be another as the mouth of this one in my viewfinder was not open when the cry still continued.  Failing to find mom Madonna, this cub decided to return to the dense vegetation in the stream and I followed it through my viewfinder. Soon my eyes encountered a second cub behind the tree branches. TWO CUBS INDEED! So we were right not only about the birth of these cubs but also their number! 

The cubs must have thought it was Mom Madonna  roaring so they came out from their hideout to answer her calls...

Seeing them healthy, round and mobile though still a bit wobbly truly made my day! ! The next challenge would be to find out their gender..We would have to do that when we microchip them, as is required by law...

Nov 30th 2011

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