Tigers of Bandhavgarh: Banbehi

This is the second of a six-part series on the tigers of Bandhavgarh. To read the first part, click here.

Understated and heroic are adjectives that usually don’t coexist, and yet, that is precisely what the tigress under today’s discussion is. For today’s tigress is no ordinary cat, but the venerable Banbehi Female.


Banbehi female - habitat

For us, writing about her is like writing about a person. She has a distinctly human presence. She’s seen in Tala but has permanent residence in our hearts.


Banbehi female - profile

She was born in late 2007 or early 2008. She’s a daughter from the last litter of the Old Banbehi Female.


Banbehi female - strolling

Her mother died in May 2009, when baby Banbehi was a little over 12 months old. She has survived being orphaned at as a cub. That’s why she’s a hero.


B2 tiger

We adore her also because she’s one of the last direct progeny of the iconic B2. (She even looks a lot like him.)


Banbehi Female resting under a rock

Her habitat is breathtakingly vintage-Bandhavgarh.


Banbehi Female - on the verge of a leap

I first saw her in May 2010.


Kalua tiger

She was mating then with her nephew, the famous Kalua.


Bamera tiger, Bandhavgarh

But she didn’t have cubs with him. Instead, she did with the adorable Bamera.


Tiger cubs of the Banbehi Female, Bandhavgarh

Her first litter had three cubs: two males and a female.


Male cub of Banbehi Female, Bandhavgarh

One of the males was very bold…


The female tiger cub of Banbehi Female, Bandhavgarh

…and the female, extremely pretty.


Banbehi Female litter, Bandhavgarh

Her second litter, of four cubs, didn’t survive long.


In her third litter, only a male survived. He was called Samrat.


She then had a fourth litter, of two males and a female.


Banbehi Female - closeup

She had a fifth litter in the summer of 2018, but the cubs didn’t survive.


Banbehi Female in Bandhavgarh

In October 2018, we were thrilled to learn she may have given birth again. If true, this would be her sixth litter!


Banbehi Female portrait, Bandhavgarh

All tigers are special, but Banbehi is a beloved.


Banbehi Female, Bandhavgarh, India

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