Cannibalism in Tigers

Tiger fight club

Print edition : July 05, 2019

Infighting between adult tigers is often fierce and bloody, a scene in the Kanha Tiger Reserve. While a few adult tigers and cubs have been cannibalised partly in the past years, it does not mean there is dearth of prey for tigers in Kanha.

A tiger with a cub it partially cannibalised after it crushed the cub’s skull. Photo: R.B. Pathak

Another partially cannibalised cub. Photo: Sudhir Mishra

The Kanha Tiger Reserve. Stringent protection, dense forest cover and waterbodies ensure excellent natal areas for tigresses. Photo: Suresh Deshmukh

Tigers also die unnoticed, of serious and infectious wounds. Photo: R.B. Pathak

A survivor whose wound is healing because it was treated in time. Photo: Sandip Agrawal

Kanha’s most famous cat, Munna, with the letters CAT “emblazoned” on his forehead, now old, licking a wound caused by infighting. Photo: Sandip Agrawal

The tigress (right) tried hard but could not save her two cubs from the male (left). Photo: Sandip Agrawal

The tiger generally preys upon calves and small-sized Indian gaur, listed as vulnerable. Photo: Sudhir Mishra

The entire core zone at Kanha has now become tranquil and inviolate for tigers. Photo: Suresh Deshmukh

Habitat improvement practices help build an excellent prey base for the tiger. Photo: Suresh Deshmukh

The increasing barasingha population indicates the health of grasslands. Photo: Sudhir Mishra

Cannibalism among tigers is a natural phenomenon linked to factors such as social organisation and territoriality, and unlike what some would like to believe, it is an occasional behaviour and poses no threat to the tiger population.
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