Sariska was born on the 10th of January
2009 at 10:30am in the morning. His mother is Shadow and
his father was Ron.
I have reason to believe that he was the
3rd cub born and as he emerged into the world. Shadow was
crouching, not lying down. The anxiety in my voice is clear
as I say "you are going to crush the cub" in the film Tiger
Man of Africa. Fortunately for Sariska, as Shadow sat down
he slipped out like a piece of soap from underneath her.
Four healthy cubs were born that day
including Corbett, Panna and Sariska. The fourth cub, was
crushed two weeks after the birth when Shadow sat on it.
Three cubs survived.
Shadow kept the cubs well hidden for the
first 5 months except for one occasion when Sariska was 3
months old. A poacher had set a wire snare above an antbear
hole hoping to catch an antbear as it exited the burrow.
Scenting that the antbear was down the burrow, Sariska (3
months old) went down to investigate. The wire snare caught
him around the waist and tightened as he struggled to free
Forty-eight hours after he was caught, I
found him weak and exhausted in the snare. By trapping his
head to the ground we were able to cut the wire snare off
with a pair of pliers. (The sequence is in the film Tiger
Man of Africa). After this incident, Sariska was exceedingly
shy and would run from the vehicles and hide. For two years
very few pictures were captured of Sariska.
As time went on, it became very clear
that Corbett was exceedingly aggressive while Sariska and
Panna were shy.
In the floods of 2011, four hundred
metres of the perimeter fence was washed away. Corbett
immediately swam out into the farm land. Sariska never ever
left the park, even though there was no fence.
During his third and fourth year Sariska
was not able to capture a territory. Being smaller than
other males, Sariska was always running away to avoid a
fight. On one occasion when Seatao was pursuing him, Sariska
went down an antbear hole backwards and so protected his
rear end. Now Seatao was forced to approach him from the
front. At this point Sariska slashed Seatao’s face opening
an 8 inch gash down his lip.
On other occasions Sariska defended
himself by standing on top of rocks, or in pools of water.
He learnt to use the electrical fence to protect his rear,
forcing his opponent to approach from the front.
At the age of 5, Sariska captured a
territory in the south of Tiger Canyons. He immediately
impregnated the Tigress Ussuri and 3 cubs were born. Sariska
then expanded his territory northwards and captured a small
portion of the river. This area overlapped with Tibo (Tibo
is the only wild white tigress in the world). After mating
with Tibo, she too produced 3 normal coloured cubs. (Sariska
was not a carrier of the recessive white gene.)
After impregnating Tibo, Sariska
immediately withdrew from the area, leaving Tibo with no
protection. Fortunately for Tibo and her cubs, her brother
Mahindra took over the territory. (Because Mahindra is
Tibo's brother and therefore invested in the cubs, he
protects the cubs and has assumed the role of father.)
Two weeks ago Mahindra began to expand
his territory to the south and began to exert pressure onto
Sariska. I was not particularly concerned because although
Mahindra is bigger than Sariska, Sariska was a far more
On the 7th August 2015 we found Sariska
dead and from the grass and tracks I deduct the following:
Mahindra, after chasing Sariska for two
days without success, had left the area and headed back
north. Sariska, fatigued from the running had lain down to
rest and fallen asleep. Mahindra had returned to the area
and found Sariska sleeping. Mahindra stalked him and jumped
on him. Mahindra’s top canine had penetrated behind
Sariska's ear and a lower canine had gone into his throat.
Normally when two male tigers fight, the
grass is flattened and pieces of fur litter the ground.
Here there was none. The only flattened grass was where
Sariska was sleeping. I believe Mahindra jumped on him and
Sariska never got back on his feet. The top canine, 5 inches
long, traveling downwards with 1,500 lbs per square inch
force, penetrated Sariska's brain and killed him instantly.
I greatly regret that I did not remove a
fence earlier. The removal of this fence would have allowed
Sariska a bigger area into which to escape.
Sariska nearly died when he was born, he
came close to death when he was caught in a wire snare and
he evaded many attacks from larger males. He spent long
periods of time playing with his cubs. This is unusual for a
male tiger. Sariska always allowed Ussuri and the cubs to
feed before him. This too is exceptional. Although not fond
of the camera lens, (Sariska would often turn his head away
from the lenses), many magnificent pictures and film have
been taken of him.
He leaves 6 normal cubs, Antoine, Jameez
and Marguerite. The three cubs fathered with Tibo have not
yet been named.
James Corbett, the great hunter of man
eaters, described a male tiger as "a wholehearted
gentleman". Sariska was shy and gentle by nature, a thorough
I feel exceedingly privileged to have
known him. He enriched my life greatly.
He will be sorely missed.
10/01/2009 - 07/08/2015
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