ybe, the prey base has shrunk in the sanctuary with not enough ungulates to go round, forcing tigers to wander out of the Sanctuary for greener pastures. Not that Kerwa has a big enough prey base but at least cattle of the villagers, easy preys, are available. Whatever the reason, the tigers seem to be here to stay, having been here for well over two years now.
It is not tigers alone that seem to like Bhopal. Leopards, too, make frequent forays into it. They have been sighted in the Indian Institute of Forest Management Complex, the National Judicial Academy, in the vast grounds of the Indira Gandhi National Museum of Man and, of course, in Kerwa.
It seems like the old times when, growing up in Gwalior in the midst of tiger-county in 1940s, we would hear frequent reports of tiger-sightings in the outskirts of the town. My eldest brother even claims to have seen one along with his friends around the mid-forties on the hillock near the Medical College that has a Scindia deity and another in the Tigra Dam area that is now being intensely colonised.
With tigers and leopards in its periphery, Bhopal is acquiring a certain uniqueness. Whether the status of Global Environment City is awarded or not, one wishes to God that these creatures and their new habitat in Kerwa are protected with all the resources that the government can muster.
Proloy Bagchi September 29, 2012