Sitara, locally called so, which bears a five point star mark on her left eye; the T-28 male tiger is the real pride of Ranthambore. The tiger fans must recognize it through the notable fight with the "lady of the lakes"- the Machali in early 2009 (the 1st of April). The reason was obviously- the fight for the territory.
During early 2006, T-27, the Gilai Sagar female mated with T-2 tiger, the X-male and gave birth to two male cubs namely the T-28 and T-29. T-28 is the same Star Male amongst the two. Their father X-male at that time was the most dominating male tiger in the entire reserve. The common territories of these two tigers (T-28 &T-29) were Gilai Sagar, Thumka and surrounding parts of the north east end of the national park, where they spent their early stages. These territories were not accessible through the visitors and have few motor able tracks. This was the reason people came lesser to know about them at their early stages. But later it was during early winters (January) of 2008 that Sitara was first noticed by the tourists around the area of Berda. He soon extended his range up to Lakkara and also covered the lake area of Jhalara and Nalghati. Today, he is one of the few dominant males of Ranthambore and has acquired the areas of Nalghati, Jhalara, almost the entire Mandoop plateau, Lakkarda and the three lakes (Padam Talao, Raj Bagh and Malik Talao).
The twist in the tale began when the famous Machali, T-16 female and her two daughters T-17 and T-19 acquired one of his territories and the legendary war between the two happened in early 2009, the war which favored Sitara and ultimately he was the winner. Slowly Machali made her peace with Sitara and both made space for each other.
The interesting part of Star Male's story of reigning is that he is today mating with two of Machali's (T-16) daughters- T-17 and T-19. The T-17 has not had a litter yet where T-19 has three cubs littered by the end of winters of 2011, proudly fathered by T-28.
His brother T-29 made his remarkable figure around the Berda - Lakkarda - Bandarwal ki Baori area. Probably a year ago, T-29 was being observed with severe leg injury when the jungle officials managed to tranquilize and treat him but that did not help him. The injury would be very serious and this is why he was not seen in the area since then.
The combat between the two brutes was further continued in the territory to render their supremacy and dominance in Ranthambore. This could be learnt through one more incidence in 2009 when T-16, the Machali killed a large male Sambar deer in a narrow valley (Bhoot Khurra) in the heart of the vicinity. The climax started when two days later of this hunting, the rowdy Star male snatched her kill and after few hours the legendary fight began. Noticeably, the Star Male was on the peak of his youth whereas Machali was devolving into debility. As a result, which was obvious, Machali surrendered in front of him in a complete submissive mode. A hard fact is that the lady of the lakes is still known for her royal victory over the 14 ft long crocodile; but today it is the Star Male who is reigning over her.
Majestically, today T-28 is in the prime of his life by claiming the rich hunting grounds around the legendary lakes which was once the dominion of Machali, his venerated grandmother. So, keeping such a large home range of Ranthambore with fertile tigress all around is really a masculine attitude of the Star male. The T-28 is definitely the star of the reserve which is all known for his challenging acts of acquiring long time territories, the power that continues till today and we are expecting some more enduring bravery tales of him in the future.
Stay in touch with us while we bring some more fascinating facts about T-28, the Star Male of Ranthambore.