T24 – The story

The road leading to the Ranthambore national park main gate is a smooth 2-laned road, which must be part of some state or national highway. And as such, it sees a lot of traffic of the usual kind: trucks, state buses, tourist taxis, private cars etc etc. In short, a typical Indian highway. Now why am I harping on the highway? Because the highway is the setting of the first anecdote about T24 told to me by the hotel manager.

Well, we were chatting with our hotel manager about tigers in Ranthambore when he said: “Arre aap thode se unlucky hain… just a few days back, T24 was sitting on the highway and enjoying his kill. Since the killed animal was a sambar, he finished it partially and left the carcass to come back the next day. Forest officials actually had to take the carcass and throw it away back inside the jungle.”

T24 courtesy: Wikipedia

T24 courtesy: Wikipedia

Imagine a tiger so bold to eat his kill in the midst of a busy highway. That’s T24 for you and apparently he has been spotted on the highway more than once. During our 3-day stay, we heard that a biker saw the tiger on the road, got frightened, lost control and crashed against another vehicle and had to get stitches in his face near the eyelids. Well, on balance, he was actually lucky to get away with only a few stitches given that T24 has, allegedly, killed at least 3 people already and for sure, terrified everyone in the jungle and nearby.

The story goes that around 18 months to two years ago, T24 had some problem in his legs; most likely, a splinter of wood that was causing him pain. So, the forest officials took him away to remove the splinter and treat the animal. This took about 1-2 days and during this period, the story goes, the tiger had ample time to be around humans so his fear of humans completely went away. And since then, he has been responsible for creating the fear of god in man.

From the main gates of the NP, there is a public road that goes till the Ranthambore fort and many people use it regularly to offer prayers to the famous Ganesh mandir inside the fort. This road also squarely falls within tiger territory and on many evenings, tigers can be spotted. Now this road comes under the territory of T24 and another female tiger as well. A male will have a larger territory overlapping a few female tigers.

So, another great anecdote of this tiger was heard on the last day of the Ganesh festival. Since this is a famous temple, on the last day, there was a large turnout of people walking towards the temple. The number of visitors that day was from 1 lakh to 4 lakhs depending on whom you ask. On that day, T24 decided it wanted to park itself bang in the middle of the road and not budge. And so it did. Thousands of people were terrified to move forward seeing the tiger. Supposedly, the forest rangers had to bunch up groups of 25 people and move them slowly past the tiger. And T24 sat there for hours supposedly. If really true, then T24 probably must be the most seen tiger in a single day, ever! Though tigers casually pass through the middle of jeeps without any fear, this story, even if partially true, is extraordinary. With so many people and so much commotion, every animal would just duck into the forest cover. But not T24, apparently.

The one positive aspect of this fearsome tiger is supposedly that after a long time, poachers are frightened of going into the jungle fearing a tiger. Our hotel manager told me that T24 is doing the work of a 100 forest guards. Exaggeration? Sure but you get the general idea.

Coming back to the three/four killings, clearly one of the killing was the handiwork T24. This has been reported widely in the newspapers. For the other two, however, there are differing versions. While villagers claim it is the handiwork of T24, the forest officials are not sure. Many people also claim that numerous sadhus on their way to the temple have been missing with only their spectacles and chappals found. I hope this is just a village rumour and not true. If true, then the M-question looms large on T24. If proved a man-eater, it may have to be shunted out to a cage in some ramshackle zoo. That would really sad for this magnificent beast. So let’s hope that the killings were more territorial and circumstantial rather than targeted human killing and eating.

This is one story that you don’t want to receive updates on. If you don’t hear about T24 on this blog or anywhere else for a few more months, then the future of T24 could be safe in the Ranthambore national park where it can continue to frighten everyone!

Ps: If you have any stories or updates on T24, please do share. Any interesting photos are also welcome. Due credit will be given to the original source

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38 Responses to T24 – The story

  1. bhrrigu says:

    hey this is a lovely write up on this star male.

  2. Sidharth mohanty says:

    Nice story . I saw this magnificent male tiger today. I can easily say I this was the best site in last 7 year. I saw him 2nd tim in my life. But today was preat frightful. He was coming towards me and my zero was stuck. Thank god he decide to spare me and went inside the jungle.

    • panthera80 says:

      Great. I was waiting for some news on T-24. Good to know that it’s still in the forest. The chase must be pretty scary I guess. If T-24 has started charging towards jeeps, that makes it two tigers. the other one being T-42. Search on youtube for the video!

  3. madhulika says:

    We saw t-24 on 3rd jan 2014 eve, a half eaten samber was kept near him, he was resting, oblivion to 8 to 10 jeeps watching him from close by, truly king of ranthambore.

  4. madhulika says:

    O yes! we were lucky enough to hav a close encounter with fathe aka t-42 on 4th jan morning safari, he nearly chased our jeep, my brother recorded a portion of that majestic chase, will post photos.

  5. saify81 says:

    hi I returned from ranthambore on 19th may 2014 .. I was lucky to see this magnificent tiger on 17th may 2014 . we were togather for almost 2 hour and for around 10 min my jeep and he was walking side by side . it was an amazing experience

  6. Arpit Desai says:

    Hello, that a good article on T-24. I saw him twice during my recent stay at Ranthambore. Once during morning safari on May 10th 2014 and second on May 11th 2014 in the afternoon safari. He had made a kill the previous night and was sleeping / lazing around in the hot summer sun.

    He is a majestic tiger and a true male in all regards. Seems he has learned to give mock chases more often than not as told by the driver of the gypsy.

    The links to his photos shot by me are as follows:



  7. Arpit Desai says:

    One more shot of T-24 after waking up from afternoon nap. Had to wait 2.5 hours to get this shot.


    • panthera80 says:

      Hi Arpit,

      Thanks for the photos! Wonderful photos and wonderful sightings! It seems more than 1 tiger is giving chases to jeeps in Ranthambore (mock or not no one wants to know I guess) T-42 is the other tiger in zone 9 (Qualji) who is scaring many people..

      Ah..eagerly hoping that the next trip materializes sooner than later…


  8. Saptarshi Bhattacharya says:

    Spotted T24 on 10th October 2014 outside the park wall near the road at about 2300 hrs. Looked straight into my camera through the jeep headlight. Scary as hell. But then just walked away.
    So I have a stunning snap of T24 at night. Do let me know how I can mail this.

  9. Mads says:

    Saw T24 in Zone 2 yesterday. Apparently, he is a bit unwell and paid no attention to us in our Canter, as he slept just off the track near a stream bed.

    • panthera80 says:

      Oh! Hope T24 is only temporarily unwell. But guess you are lucky to have a good sighting of him!

      • Mads says:

        The news is not so good. He has not been sighted since Sunday, reported local Jaipur newspapers on Tuesday, 20th January. He had not defecated for more than a week and was even administered some medicines before he disappeared.

  10. dekyjpr says:

    Your stories about T24 or Ustaad are an interesting read and must be true as I have heard them too.
    Have seen him a few times but have always seen him within the park.
    Though I have seen his son T72 outside the park, at night, while driving my own car and also managed to make a video of it.

    • panthera80 says:

      I guess so. There might be a bit of exaggeration, masala added by people but must be by and large true. You’re really lucky to have seen him a few times. Guess you’re a seasoned safari goer !! Would be great if you can upload video to youtube and share a link !

      • dekyjpr says:

        Here’s the video

        Yes, Ive been to quite a few safari’s and have seen quite a few tigers. But believe me watching a tiger (for free) in the comfort of your own car is an experience beyond comapre. In fact, 72, after a few days of this sighting was sitting bang in the middle of this road at night blocking traffic and then he dozed of for an hour also.

        Also, T24 appears to be fine now as yesterdays reports from the park say that he has defecated. So lets hope for the best

    • panthera80 says:

      Thanks for the video. What an experience. I just managed to see a leopard at Nagzira similarly. But this was one really good stuff..

  11. P C Gadhvi says:

    he has just killed his 5th human victim and is displaying disturbing signs of M…

  12. Praful says:

    T-24 targeted another forest guard this friday…… Do your research and let me know if you want more info.

  13. Bhavna says:

    So sad they have shifted him to Udaipur zoo (source: TOI,18&19.05.2015) Hotelier’s lobby is more powerful than even ministers? It seems even state forest minister was kept in dark about it as he had sympathy to the tiger http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Ranthambore-lost-its-most-famous-tiger-because-of-hoteliers-lobby/articleshow/47335064.cms & http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Public-start-campaigns-start-to-bring-back-Ranthambores-killer-tiger/articleshow/47346546.cms

    • panthera80 says:

      If it was due to the hotelier’s lobby the it’s really sad. Also, sad for the hoteliers because I would think that most of us who visit Ranthambore would be glad to see T24 or any other tiger near the hotel gate at night !!

  14. doll says:

    T 24 is the Queen of Ranthambore. She should be allowed to rule her own place instead of captivating in any zoo.
    Leave her free to roam also humans should leave her place coz this is the only reason why she became so violent

  15. TigerFreak says:

    It’s very sad news that T24 has been shifted out of Ranthambore.
    When will we understand that we human pose more danger to the tigers than vice versa.

  16. Pingback: A Tiger called T24 | The Contrarian

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