A relocated tiger couple has met in Sariska, raising hopes that the big cat population in the park will increase, while two new cubs have been born in Ranthambore.
"Rajasthan is sending some positive signals on the tiger population," environment minister Jairam Ramesh said, indicating the new tiger census to be announced in December will show increase in tiger population in India.
As of the last census in 2007, there were 1,411 tigers in the country.
The minister hopes that the tiger couple --- T-4, a male tiger and T-2, a female --- mates and Sariska gets its first litter after the tigers went missing from India's first tiger reserve.
Many wildlifers are not enthused, saying tigers coupled have mated earlier, but there were no cubs. The reason for hope this time is that the tigress is different from the one who had mated earlier and was relocated from Ranthambore in 2009.
"She is vocalising," Ramesh said, meaning she is ready for mating.
Her vocalising has caught the attention of the tiger, who had gone missing earlier this month and has now returned to be with her. Both of them were spotted together in Kalighatti area of Sariska reserve, considered auspicious for birth of cubs.
A team of scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India and Rajasthan forest department is monitoring the couple through radio collaring devices. If all goes well, the forest department officials expect Sariska to have cubs by next monsoon.
About 200 km south in Ranthambore, the reserve got two new cubs.
A relocated tiger was apparently poisoned in Sariska and tigers faced the ire of villagers in Ranthambore for killing a woman. Both the incidents happened earlier this month.