Friday, May 16, 2008

Rajasthan's tiger relocation move may fail

Rajasthan's tiger relocation move may fail

Harsha Kumari Singh
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 (Jaipur)

The Rajasthan government's ambitious plans to reintroduce the tiger in Sariska could have run into rough weather.

The Ranthambore National Park, which has had a baby boom in the past two years, has now reached it's optimum capacity for tigers and the big cats, especially the new males require more space, thereby pushing the government to go ahead with the plan.

But so far, tigers have never been successfully relocated anywhere in the world though attempts have been made in the past. And with odds in Sariska being against tiger safety, the Rajasthan government's ambitious plan has now come under a cloud.

The government wants to implement the plan because in Sariska, the poachers wiped out the tiger population three years back.

''We will make an enclosure in about one hectare area. Then we will keep expanding that enclosure. Once the tigers settle, we will let them roam free in Sariska,'' Rajasthan's Minister for Environment and Forests Pratap Singh Singhvi said.

The 400 sq kilometre Ranthambore National Park has about 35 tigers and experts believe that the park has now reached it's maximum capacity. But relocating tigers in Sariska has it's own problems as there are still 11 villages located in the middle of the sanctuary and a state highway that cuts across the park is a threat to the animals.

''Ranthambore's success story begins after 16 villages inside the park were moved out and the same thing has to be done in Sariska otherwise there is no point moving tigers there,'' tiger expert Fateh Singh Rathore says.

Under the guidance of scientists from the wildlife institute in Dehradun, there are plans to airlift the tigers in a helicopter from Ranthambore to Sariska. But unless the park is made safe for tigers, the threat of poaching that wiped out the tigers here will continue to haunt Sariska.

Tiger population rising in Ranthambore
Raje govt wants chopper for tiger cubs bound for Sariska

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