Wildlife enthusiasts may have finally found an answer to the longstanding question - do male big cats rear their cubs whose mothers have died? Pictures taken at the Ranthambore National Park on Saturday evening by wildlife conservator and photographer Balendu Singh, show that the male tigers do double up as mothers for their cubs.
"These are pictures of the T25 tiger looking after the two cubs that he fathered," said tiger expert Valmik Thapar, as he announced to enthralled audience at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) that this doubtful behaviour of the wild cats now stood confirmed in the Ranthambore forests. "This was unheard of in the tiger literature of the world. Only the female tigers were known to raise the cubs, but T25 has shown that the males also do it," Thapar asserted.
Until now the tiger was suspected to be playing a 'doting dad' to the two cubs after their mother died in February 2011. The state wildlife authorities, too, had been keeping a watch on the tiger and the orphaned cubs since June 2011 when first indications were picked up that T25 could be doubling up as mother.