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9 April 2017 / leggypeggy

A sad farewell to another Prince

Prince of Bandipur National Park

Last year about this time, the world mourned the death of Prince, the famous singer, songwriter, actor, instrumentalist, philanthropist, dancer and record producer, who entertained millions around the globe.

This week I learned of the death of another popular Prince. This time it was the 14-year-old celebrity tiger from Bandipur National Park in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Prince in Bandipur

Prince patrols his territory

According to the news, a post-mortem found that Prince’s stomach was empty, which means he may have starved to death. Karnataka is in the grip of a devastating drought and most of the prey has been moving out of the park. Alternatively, some recent reports said Prince had been seen limping, so perhaps he was unable to hunt prey.

A member of the State Wildlife Advisory Board put a positive spin on the death saying Bandipur has the highest density of tigers and a 14-year-old tiger dying naturally is actually good news as now another tiger can take over the territory.

Wildlife photographers will remember the massive-sized Prince as a favourite subject because he freely roamed his territory and did not shy away from tourists and photographers.

Tiger in Bandipur

Prince takes no notice of the tourists

Prince in Bandipur National Park

I wonder which was his best side for photos?

I know this is true because Prince was the tiger we saw when we visited Bandipur.

What an amazing experience it was, in more ways than one!

Most Gypsy drivers in Bandipur make an effort to keep in touch with one another during wildlife safaris, and our driver became a rally car wizard the moment he heard that Prince had been spotted lounging in a muddy pool of water.

At the time, we were going the opposite direction on a narrow stretch of bumpy dirt road more than a kilometre from Prince. So to get there fast, our driver set out at breakneck speed IN REVERSE, and drove that way for most of the distance. The ride alone was thrilling—given the condition of the road with tree roots, rocks and erosion, it came close being to a roller-coaster ride—and then we came upon Prince sauntering through the jungle.

His muddy behind and tail were evidence of where he had been resting, but he was on the move now.

Prince, tiger, Bandipur

He completely ignored the hordes of tourists and photographers who were watching his every move, and strolled calmly between the Gypsies and vans.

We followed him for more than 30 minutes as he meandered back and forth inspecting and spraying his territory.

Looking back at the photos, taken just four months ago, he was already looking on the thin side.

Prince, thank you for showing yourself to us. May you rest in peace.

P.S. It was hard to decide which of the more than 70 photos I took of Prince to share. And in case you were wondering, a tiger’s life expectancy in the wild is 10–15 years, so Prince did quite well.

Bandipur's famous tiger, Prince

Prince, Bandipur, India

Our last view of Prince

119 Comments

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  1. Chez @ Chez Moi / Apr 9 2017 5:46 pm

    These are incredible photos! What an amazing experience to get so close to him. It’s sad indeed that he has passed, but as you say, it’s wonderful that he died naturally rather than at the hands of poachers.

    Liked by 5 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 6:23 pm

      Such a majestic fellow. I am so relieved to know he didn’t die at the hands of poachers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thys / Apr 10 2017 1:28 pm

        Agree 100% He passed away according to the natural order of things. What a beautiful amazing animal.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. manningtreearchive / Apr 9 2017 5:49 pm

    Fitting tribute to a prince. Pity I never saw him once during the many times I passed through Bandipur while travelling between Ooty and Mysore.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. panhirsch / Apr 9 2017 5:57 pm

    Majestic animal. His roar will now be heard in another world. What an experience to see a tiger up close!

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 6:17 pm

      Such a beautiful thought. I can already imagine his roar being heard in another world. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrew Petcher / Apr 9 2017 7:14 pm

    We have got some Bengal tigers just arrived at a wildlife park in Lincolnshire, about 35 miles from where I live!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. beetleypete / Apr 9 2017 7:29 pm

    He was a dignified big cat indeed. I agree that he was looking thin in your photos. Such a shame that he starved to death, but that is nature’s way, I suppose.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 8:49 pm

      They aren’t sure he starved to death, but it would be a sad end to a fine beast. At least he didn’t eat a tourist, although I’ve encountered a few on our travels that could be dispensed with.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Christopher Bartlett / Apr 9 2017 7:56 pm

    Yes, he does look skinny. I don’t know much about tigers, but if that was a lion it would be an undernourished one.

    Best regards,

    Christopher Bartlett, http://www.indigosafaris.com

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 8:55 pm

      I didn’t notice his thinness at the time, but looking back on the pics, it is rather obvious.

      Like

  7. BoomingOn / Apr 9 2017 7:57 pm

    He was looking a bit thin, but it’s got to be a tough gig out there in the wild, especially when you’re 14. Surprising he didn’t go for the tourists. RIP Prince.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 8:50 pm

      Great point. Prince mustn’t have been too hungry if he didn’t go for a tourist.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. IreneDesign2011 / Apr 9 2017 8:22 pm

    Great photos Peggy and he looked satisfied at your photos. May Prince roar in a new and kind world.

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 8:51 pm

      Prince certainly looked calm and confident. I hope his roar is louder than ever.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Vicki / Apr 9 2017 8:28 pm

    What a wonderful experience it must have been.

    Prince looks quite thin in the last 2 images, but at 14 it seems he’d lived quite a long time for his species.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 8:52 pm

      I was pleased to read that a tiger’s life expectancy in the wild is 15 years or less, so he had a decent innings.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. pvcann / Apr 9 2017 9:40 pm

    love the photos, such a wonderful being.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. lorriedeck / Apr 9 2017 9:51 pm

    Gorgeous photos. It sounds to me like he lived a good life and a long life for a wild tiger. What a great experience to see him in person!

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 10:02 pm

      No way of telling, but I wonder how many cubs he fathered?

      Liked by 1 person

      • lorriedeck / Apr 9 2017 10:05 pm

        That’s an interesting question. Perhaps one of his sons will take over his area now that he has passed. Tigers are magnificent. They so much bigger than people think.

        Like

      • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 10:08 pm

        Parks try to keep track of a mother’s offspring, but they often don’t know who the father is. But it’s totally possible that a Prince son might take over the territory. I’ll try to keep tabs on it.

        Like

  12. gerard oosterman / Apr 9 2017 10:06 pm

    Vale Prince. A proud father of many cubs.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. calmkate / Apr 9 2017 10:12 pm

    What a wonderful story and majestic beast, thanks for sharing! That ride made me laugh, would be good for a movie … fast and in reverse.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 10:18 pm

      Oh gosh, I wish we had a video of that ride. We were all woo-hooing and laughing until we could hardly breathe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • calmkate / Apr 9 2017 10:22 pm

        Think I would have brought my breakfast up but it would look really hilarious in movie … a great variation on the usual car chase! And that would take great skill.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Apr 9 2017 11:19 pm

        Oh yes, I can just imagine a movie of the ride.

        Like

  14. Popping Wheelies / Apr 9 2017 10:32 pm

    There is perhaps nothing on the earth more beautiful, more awe inspiring than the tiger. It is sad to lose one that has been a friend to so many. You touched on the life cycle, and I join in the hope that a young tiger will take over Prince’s territory.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. neveradullbling / Apr 9 2017 10:43 pm

    Awww, bless… RIP Prince.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. susan@onesmallwalk / Apr 10 2017 12:45 am

    magnificent creature, wonderful photos. I bet this is one experience that becomes even better when you have time to look back and appreciate it 🙂 – Susan

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Sadaf Siddiqi / Apr 10 2017 2:07 am

    That’s sad but nice photos.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Curt Mekemson / Apr 10 2017 4:18 am

    A fitting memorial, Peggy. Rest in peace, Prince. May your hunting be successful and your belly full. –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

  19. forwardtogloryquartet / Apr 10 2017 6:35 am

    Very sorry to hear the news. What a noble being, princely indeed. His memory will live on. Thanks for the admirable photos of him!

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 10 2017 11:30 am

      Thanks so much. Feel privileged to have photographed him.

      Like

  20. Dorothy / Apr 10 2017 7:11 am

    Sad to think of such a peaceful and beautiful animal dying with an empty stomach. you were very fortunate to see him close up. I hope the people running the sanctuary can balance the population a bit better to provide some prey animals like goats for them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 10 2017 11:32 am

      We were so lucky to see him up close and for so long. You make an excellent point about the balance of prey. I’m not sure how the parks manage these situations.

      Like

  21. Alison and Don / Apr 10 2017 8:58 am

    What an amazing experience that must have been! We went to Ranthambhore but didn’t see any tigers. I think we should have chosen Bandipur.
    Alison

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 10 2017 11:33 am

      We’ve always found Ranthambore to be over-rated. We recommend parks such as Pench, Kanna and Bandipur instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. theorangutanlibrarian / Apr 10 2017 9:09 am

    Oh lovely pictures! So sad!

    Liked by 3 people

  23. fl2native / Apr 10 2017 9:13 am

    Sad story, especially if he starved to death. Drought conditions make it difficult for all species! Good story and photos!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Louise M Oliver / Apr 10 2017 10:48 am

    Ah Peggy, it’s so sad. He was a very regal-looking animal. Thank you for the stories and the beautiful photos.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. luckyjc007 / Apr 10 2017 10:58 am

    Love the photos! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Green Global Trek / Apr 10 2017 6:27 pm

    Oh this is so heartwarming and touching and sad all at the same time. I am absolutely amazed you got so close to a tiger in the “wild” you are extremely fortunate. He did live a long and hopefully happy life and I hope he did not suffer too much at the end. Your photos are incredible!

    Climate change and drought are severly impacting wildlife everywhere. There is the same issue here in Sri Lanka

    http://www.greenglobaltrek.com/2014/10/climate-change-udawalawe-national-park-and-its-elephants.html

    RIP Prince. Thanks for sharing Peggy.

    Peta

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 10 2017 6:38 pm

      Like you, I hope he didn’t suffer in the end. And desperately hoping for the drought in southern India to end.

      Like

  27. voulaah / Apr 10 2017 7:07 pm

    That is so sad dear Peggy
    Thank you for sharing georgous photos
    Have a very nice week
    Kisses

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 10 2017 7:47 pm

      Thanks Anita. I hope you have a nice week too.

      Like

  28. derrickjknight / Apr 10 2017 8:10 pm

    A fine tribute, Peggy

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Cheryl Wright / Apr 10 2017 10:26 pm

    Great tribute to Prince. I absolutely love tigers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 10 2017 10:28 pm

      So do we. We’ve travelled in India three times in the last three years in order to see tigers, leopards and Asiatic lions.

      Like

  30. lexklein / Apr 11 2017 12:50 am

    What an amazing experience! I’ve done most of my more exotic animal viewing in Africa, so I’ve never seen a tiger in the wild with my own eyes. Is it typical to be able to get that close to tigers?

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Nancy / Apr 11 2017 1:56 am

    So sad. Beautiful creature and seemed so friendly. The photos are magnificent. You were fortunate to get to see him and take so many photos. A heart-rending compelling story,

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 11 2017 1:11 pm

      Not all tigers are so blasé around humans. They tend to become threats and/or man-eaters when they’ve been injured and are unable to hunt for their normal prey. But people are urged to stay inside at night when tigers, and leopards especially, are on the prowl.

      Like

      • Nancy / Apr 14 2017 1:06 am

        True. Nonetheless, exquisite creatures. Also, (as you know) this is what made Prince incredibly special.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Apr 14 2017 10:09 pm

        Ah yes, I think his swagger was especially appealing.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. macalder02 / Apr 11 2017 5:14 am

    Departing his natural death, he was an impressive specimen for its beauty. Your photos show their majesty in full motion.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. robertcday / Apr 12 2017 8:50 am

    I read yesterday that Tiger Sharks fight and eat each other whilst still in the womb so that only the fittest survive to be born. There are worse things than to end life with an empty belly.
    Kindness – Robert.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 12 2017 1:46 pm

      Yikes, I hadn’t realised that tiger sharks were quite so vicious. P.S. I can fix typos. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • robertcday / Apr 12 2017 3:41 pm

        Yeah, I’m reading 1001 Cool Freaky Facts – it’s amazing how many times I’ve been off my food over the past couple of days. (And – yes please to the typo-fixing service)
        Have a good one. 😉
        Robert.

        Liked by 1 person

  34. Sheryl / Apr 12 2017 1:00 pm

    What a beautiful animal! It’s sad that he’s gone. The tribute to Prince is lovely. And, thank you for providing information at the end of the post about the life expectancy of tigers. I wondered about that while I was reading the post, and it was good to find out that Prince had lived a full life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 12 2017 1:46 pm

      Thanks Sheryl, I thought it was important to add the life expectancy info.

      Like

  35. sriramjanak / Apr 12 2017 5:43 pm

    Indeed it was a sad day…for all of us who have spent time with this magnificent animal.
    It was very bold ..and I spent considerable time photographing him….
    may his soul RIP…

    Liked by 2 people

  36. marple25mary / Apr 13 2017 8:28 am

    Beautiful photos. So profoundly sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 13 2017 9:14 am

      Thanks for stopping by. Prince’s death is a huge loss.

      Like

  37. Catnip Blog / Apr 13 2017 12:34 pm

    Peggy,
    Wonderful post (as always), beautiful pictures and very informative. I love that you give a peek into a world that many of us will never see in person.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 13 2017 3:12 pm

      Thanks so much. I love having people come along with us.

      Like

  38. voulaah / Apr 13 2017 11:12 pm

    Have a very nice day dear Peggy and Good preparation for your holidays
    Kisses

    Liked by 1 person

  39. DreamTemples / Apr 13 2017 11:27 pm

    Hi! Thank you so much for checking out my blog.Reading this post brought back memories of Bandipur from long ago.Such a lovely tribute to Prince.Many thanks.I hope the drought ends soon,at least for the sake of the animals.
    Sheela

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 15 2017 10:56 pm

      Thanks so much for dropping by. We all hope that drought ends soon.

      Like

  40. da AL / Apr 14 2017 8:10 am

    Dear LeggyPeggy – so sorry – thanks for allowing us to get to know Prince & to mourn with you, as well as for your call for everyone to value nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 14 2017 2:05 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and for commenting. It will be great when everyone gets the message to value nature.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. PantryPortfolio / Apr 14 2017 11:16 am

    What a great set of pictures – particularly that last one. A lovely tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 14 2017 2:06 pm

      I thought the last picture was the most appropriate given the circumstances.

      Like

  42. Anna / Apr 14 2017 11:37 pm

    What a majestic animal. A sad loss but at least it was ‘natural’ and not by hunters. You are lucky t have witnessed him in his natural glory!

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Scott Levine / Apr 15 2017 1:08 am

    That was incredible, and terrific photography. It’s sad that Prince is gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. vinneve / Apr 15 2017 8:01 pm

    He doesn’t mind people taking photos! 🙂 Sad he’s gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. kunstkitchen / Apr 16 2017 2:25 am

    I can see how thin he is in your photo. Very sad for the area to have drought. It must be hard on the people and animals alike.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Deb / Apr 16 2017 10:00 pm

    Oh that is sad, but as you said he did do quite well to live as long as he did. What an exciting ride to get to see him, holy smokes and backwards!! May you rest in peace Prince.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2017 10:18 pm

      Oh my, it was a remarkably wild ride. Still laughing about it. And feeling privileged to have seen Prince in his last year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Deb / Apr 16 2017 10:25 pm

        Lol, it sounds wild. Yes what an honor that was.

        Liked by 1 person

  47. jeanleesworld / Apr 18 2017 9:31 am

    Sad, but at the same time, I do find it encouraging that Prince died as a tiger would die in his natural habitat. The pictures are beautiful and show just how confident and sure of himself as he meandered among the vehicles. Master of the Land indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 18 2017 11:36 pm

      I’m with you Jean. Very sad that he died, but very glad he swaggered through life.

      Liked by 1 person

  48. J.D. Riso / Apr 19 2017 10:36 pm

    RIP, beautiful beast.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. sportsattitudes / Apr 23 2017 3:08 am

    A story that deserves to be told indeed Peggy. It is hoped he had a truly royal life but certainly nothing like he enjoys now. I imagine without the exceptional pictures you’d still always have a memory of having spent some time with Prince.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. tony / May 5 2017 2:48 pm

    Sad story. Have always loved tigers. Great photos! You are incredibly lucky.

    I always remember being growled at in the dark by a tiger at Corbett National Park. It had been a long day and we’d arrived nearly at dusk and walked out of camp on the river flats to view the Chital. On the way back to the lodges Rukmini and I were warned by a low friendly growl not to come any further. We grabbed hands. After a minute I whistled slowly and we heard the tiger moving away.

    Rukmini denied the tiger when we were back in the camp and safely ensconced. However, at the staff canteen next morning we were told that a young tiger had been around the elephant enclosure all night.

    In the next few days we pursued but didn’t see a tiger! Nevertheless, it was a wonderful trip. Twelve months later a tourist guide was killed by a tiger at Corbett. Stepping back at the wrong place and the wrong time. Many years ago.

    Have also been a big fan of Jim Corbett since I was a teenager.

    Tony
    http://breadtagsagas.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 5 2017 3:09 pm

      Thank you, Tony, for sharing those wonderful memories.

      Jim Corbett was a remarkable man. We bought and read all his books while in India, and then left them with Anand and Deepti to share with future passengers. The day before we arrived at Corbett National Park, four women were attacked and killed by a tiger. How lucky you were to be warned. Anand and Deepti always said that tigers that attack humans are usually ancient or injured.

      Like

  51. Shiva Malekopmath / May 7 2017 2:25 pm

    Oh Peggy I am from the same state Karnataka. You have given such detail of our own tiger Prince, thanks.
    I am ashamed to know the way of its death.
    Shiva

    Liked by 1 person

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