Celebration at Sariska
First anniversary of re-introduction of tigers in Sariska Reserve held
All three tigers in Sariska at present brought from Ranthambhore
SARISKA: A tiger park which had brought ignominy by losing all its wild tigers to poachers five years ago regained some of its lost glory as experts and authorities got together to celebrate the first anniversary of the re-introduction of tigers in the Sariska Tiger Reserve here on Saturday.
The day was the anniversary of the foundation of another celebrated tiger sanctuary — the Jim Corbett National Park — but Union Forests and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh chose to be in Sariska, now the laboratory for tiger habitat experiments.
The Minister and the experts who included Rajesh Gopal of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India, who carried out the experiment on “Species recovery plan” successfully, talked about the need for both global and local initiatives to protect the world’s tigers from various types of dangers, including from poachers and extremists. The presentations indicated that the tigers in the Project Tiger sanctuaries — barring a few — are protected while those wandering outside them are at the mercy of the elements and human beings.
Mr. Ramesh said 37 tiger reserves accounted for 1,400 tigers in the country which was almost 70 per cent of the global population of the big cats.
Yet as many as 16 of the tiger reserves themselves remained fragile, some of them seriously under threat from Maoist extremists and others from poaching.
“Project Tiger’s biggest threat is from poaching. In the next session of Parliament we will introduce a Bill to amend the Wildlife Act to provide for more stringent laws against poaching,” he said.
“The status of tigers is okay in tiger reserves in 17 States but their condition is very poor in different forest areas,” said Mr. Gopal. The Project Tiger areas cover only six per cent of the country’s total forest area, he pointed out. Seven tiger reserves are facing the threat from Left wing extremism.
In his final assessment, he placed the rankings of the tiger reserves as: Good 12; satisfactory 9; and poor 16.
And as for the Sariska tigers — three of them, re-introduced between June 2008 and February 2009 — they are doing well.
“The Sariska Tiger Reserve is in its 31st year. Re-introduction of tigers enabled us to gain confidence that Sariska is still relevant,” said R.N. Mehrotra, Principal Chief Conservator, Forests (Wildlife), Rajasthan, in his opening remarks.
“Sariska tigers are doing wonderfully well and two more would be introduced in the park by the end of the year as per the revival plan,” Mr. Ramesh said. There was a proposal to bring one of them from Bandavgarh to add to the gene pool, he said.
All the three tigers now in the Sariska reserve have been brought from the Ranthambore National Park.