New Delhi (CNN)A tiger in India traveled more than 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) in search of a mate -- the longest such walk ever recorded by a big cat in India, according to researchers.
A tiger went on an 800-mile odyssey in search of food, a mate and a place to call home
The five-month-long odyssey saw the tiger, dubbed T1-C1 by scientists, criss-cross through forests and populated urban areas before eventually settling in a nature reserve.
Male tigers migrate as a part of a natural process of marking their territory in order to find a habitat where they can assert their dominance, moving away from their place of origin, which is already densely populated with tigers.
Two-and-half-year-old T1-C1 was one of three cubs born to a tiger named TWLS-T1 in 2016. A satellite radio collar was placed on all three in February 2019, as a part of a study to monitor the dispersal pattern of young tigers.
The tiger began its migration in late June from the Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in the western state of Maharashtra. An adult male tiger dominated the sanctuary and T1-C1 went in search of food and a potential mate.
"The primary concern is a thriving prey base, however, it is also important find a mate and there were no female tigers that he could mate with at Tipeshwar sanctuary," said Ravikiran Govekar, field director with the Maharashtra state forest department.
The tiger crossed between the southern state of Telangana and back to Maharashtra several times, feeding on cattle and wild animals, such as antelope, along the way. It then made its way to the Dnyanganga Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra, approximately 186 miles (300 kilometers) northwest of where its journey began.
The tracking collar has been active for nine months and will be removed from the tiger once its battery is completely drained. T1-C1 is currently being monitored by officials at the Dnyanganga sanctuary.
"A tiger's behavior is unpredictable but we are keeping track of it," said Vishal Mali, a divisional forest officer at the sanctuary. "The region has sufficient natural resources and prey for the tiger to sustain itself and it might decide to settle there permanently."