TNN Oct 2, 2011, 10.22AM IST
JAIPUR/ALWAR: Living up to expectations, the Ranthambore tiger reserve saw a huge turnout of tourists, after a three month hiatus, on the first day of the season. Tourism also increased at the Sariska tiger reserve with 55 persons, including eight foreigners, making their way into it.
According to forest department officials, "The mood was upbeat at Ranthambore right from the morning. Around 20 Gypsies and nine canters made their way into the park and it included the conservationist Valmik Thappar. The tourists in the morning session spotted a sloth bear and a tiger in the Lakarda zone."
The evening session saw 22 Gypsies and 14 canters making their way into the park. Some tourists on a Gypsy spotted a tigress in the evening session.
"It was a great day at the Ranthambore reserve. As every year on the first day of the season we welcome tourists with a tilak as they enter the park and it happened this year too. The system of checking identity card was enforced and no fake booking was detected. They even managed to spot a tiger, T-16, in the morning session," said UM Sahai, chief wildlife warden, Rajasthan.
In Sariska some confusion prevailed when officials stopped Gypsies from going into the park saying only canters will be allowed inside. The Gypsy owners potested and even sent a protest letter to the Union minister of state for home Jeetendra Singh.
Accordind to Puranmal, a Gypsy owner, "In 2009, we were called by the then DFO Sudershan Sharma and were lured into buying Gypsies as he felt that the localites must get the benefit from the reserve. We had then bought our Gypsies and were even promised that we would be allowed to ply our vehicles for a long time. But this change in directives has been a blow to us. We will not allow the canters to ply under any condition."