Jai – The Hulk Tiger of India

Jai – The Hulk Tiger of India


In November 2010, at the Nagzira National Park in Maharashtra, a female tiger named Mai welcomed two male cubs into the world, named Jai and Veeru.

These names were inspired by the iconic duo from the film “Sholay,” reflecting the cubs’ strong bond. The park, spanning an area of 120 km², was under the reign of their formidable father, Dhendu, known as the dominant tiger of the region.

As offspring of a skilled huntress and a dominant male, Jai and Veeru quickly grew into robust sub-adults. Jai, notably larger than Veeru, ventured out on his own at the age of 2.5 years, seeking new territories and mating opportunities, a quest that led him away from his father’s domain.

During his travels, Jai encountered a female named Alpha. Their interaction was brief and marked by conflict, resulting in Jai continuing his journey alone.

In August 2013, Jai embarked on a remarkable trek to Umred’s Tadoba National Park, located 130 km away. This migration was unprecedented, as no other tiger had been recorded making such a deliberate move to establish a new territory.

Tadoba was controlled by two dominant males, from whom Jai maintained a cautious distance. Over time, as he matured into an imposing tiger weighing 250 kg, he eventually took over the territory, earning the nickname “Hulk Tiger” due to his extraordinary size and powerful presence.

In December 2013, Jai was observed mating with a female named Chandi, who later gave birth to four cubs: Jaichand, Bahu, Bali, and Barkha. By mid-2014, Jai had paired with Fairy, the most admired tigress of Umred, who bore him two cubs, Bittu and Shrinivas. Shrinivas, in particular, exhibited traits remarkably similar to those of his father. Through these unions, Jai sired a total of 11 cubs, significantly bolstering the tiger population of Tadoba National Park.

Jai’s legacy continued through Shrinivas, who ventured 300 km away in search of his own territory but eventually returned home. Tragically, in May 2017, Shrinivas died after encountering an electric wire near a village.

On April 19, 2016, Jai disappeared.

A search involving over 100 volunteers and forest rangers yielded no trace of him. Calls were made in the Lok Sabha for a CBI probe to locate Jai, but no evidence of his whereabouts emerged. Towards the end of 2017, the Telangana forest department reported sightings of an unusually large tiger, previously unrecorded in their region.

This news sparked a collaborative search between the Maharashtra and Telangana forest departments, though Jai remained elusive.

Speculations about Jai having traveled an additional 200 km to Telangana persist, yet no concrete proof has been found.

The search continues, with hopes that Jai, dubbed the “Hulk Tiger of India” for his impressive size, is safe and thriving in his new habitat.

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