A mother’s love
Can tigress Raj Bhera protect her cubs from danger?
Over the past century, global tiger numbers have declined by a staggering 95 per cent. So, for tigress Raj Bhera, to raise four cubs in
Tiger Reserve is an enormous undertaking.
Only 50 per cent of tiger cubs survive until adulthood and her four youngsters face constant threats from other tigers, a lack of prey and, most dangerous of all, having humans as neighbours.
‘Raj Bhera’s problems come not just from the natural world but from having to rear her cubs in close quarters to us,’ says Sir David Attenborough, who narrates this last episode of BBC1’s Dynasties series.
‘Her cubs are vulnerable and will remain so for the next two years. It will take all her strength and skill as a mother if she is going to raise them to adulthood.’
With the area suffering a severe drought, Raj Bhera struggles to feed her cubs and fend off attacks from other tigers.
‘She has to strike an almost impossible balance between hunting, scenting her territory and nursing her cubs,’ explains Sir David.
Bhera strays out of the reserve and into a nearby village, but with villagers aware of the damage a tiger can do, this has been the death knell for so many tigers before her.
Can Raj Bhera make it back to her cubs to ensure her dynasty lives on?
‘All the animals we feature in this series face an uncertain future but tigers in particular,’ says Sir David. ‘For them, each year is going to be harder than the last because of the encroachment of humanity.’
Vulnerable… Raj Bhera(right) faces an uphill battle to raise her cubs