Friday, May 16, 2008

Tiger population rising in Ranthambore

Tiger population rising in Ranthambore

Harsha Kumari Singh
Monday, May 5, 2008 (Ranthambore)

After a largescale fall in the tiger population in the country, there is good news coming out of Rajasthan's Ranthambore National Park.

A 15 day tiger census is being carried out there and there's a baby boom in the park with at least 14 new cubs.

The tiger census is considered crucial as three years back, the tigers were wiped out from Sariska. Poaching had also taken its toll in Ranthambore where poachers had reportedly killed a dozen tigers.
But in the past two years, after stringent security measures, things are looking up. And this year's census could well reflect an upward swing in the tiger population at the park.

During the census, officials will also use a geo positioning system to establish the territories which the new cubs are marking out as their own.

''We are tracking the movement of young cubs, especially the males. Right now, they are still in the process of marking their forming territories,'' says Range Forest Officer Daulat Singh Shaktawat.

Three years back, poaching had almost halved the tiger population at Ranthambore. Experts say that the annual census is not enough to keep track of tigers in the park. According to them, a detailed photographic profiling of individual tigers is also necessary.

''The pug mark method has long been rejected in wildlife circles. Each tiger has stripes that are unique and distinctive like fingerprints. So a photographic record of tigers should be maintained and this should be a continuous process,'' says Fateh Singh Rathore, an expert from Tiger Watch.

The tiger census is especially critical after tigers were wiped out in Sariska. And Ranthambore is the only national park with a substantial tiger population. But there is good news for wildlife lovers as in the past two years, 14 new cubs have been born here and this year's census could show a healthy increase in the tiger population.



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