WII to stop routine monitoring of Sariska tigers

After a decade of the country’s first tiger relocation programme at Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has decided to withdraw from the routine monitoring of the protected area that will now be handled by the reserve’s staff

dehradun Updated: Mar 12, 2018 21:07 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times
There are only 3 breeding female tigers left at Sariska in the age group of 8-14.(HT File)

After a decade of the country’s first tiger relocation programme at Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has decided to withdraw from the routine monitoring of the protected area that will now be handled by the reserve’s staff.

In March, the programme will be completing 10 years. It was in June 2008 when first aerial translocation of the tiger was done from Ranthambore to Sariska.

Following which, the WII did handholding of the officers and staff providing them training and guiding them during every step.

But, the Institute has already informed National Tiger Conservation Authority that they won’t do routine monitoring of the tigers any further.

“We have trained the staff that could do routine monitoring. As monitoring isn’t a part of our research, we will stop doing hand holding for the department,” VB Mathur, director WII said.

Scientists at WII informed there are only 3 breeding female tigers left Sariska which spreads across 881.11 sqkm area in the age group of 8-14.

And to ensure healthy breeding, the scientists have suggested relocation of one male and one female tiger in the time gap of 3-5 years for at least 20 years to get a healthy gene pool in the reserve.

The scientists are likely to shift a male and a female tiger by March-end from Ranthambore. Sariska has currently a population of 15 tigers.

“What we have suggested is a part of the project that was initially submitted. We will be assisting in relocation, but routine monitoring should be done by the department,” said Parag Nigam, scientist at WII who is heading the project.

The concern remains for Sariska where healthy breeding of tigers is still challenging, unlike Ranthambore.

A recent study done by the institute has highlighted that the tigers in Sariska are more stressed than those in Ranthambore.

Thanks to 29 village clusters in the core area of the reserve. The scientists found stress hormones in the scats and the analysis was done.

The translocation in India works on adaptive management-which means regular monitoring shall be done. The monitoring includes reporting on the male-female ratio, a number of litters and their survival, prey base, straying and other aspects. For last 10 years, WII had been doing it for Sariska.

GS Bharadwaj, director Sariska, couldn’t be contacted despite several attempts.

In 2005, it was realised that there were no tigers in Sariska raising concern over poaching. Ministry of the environment, forest and climate (MoEFCC) and WII along with the state forest department prepared a translocation plan.

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 21:07 IST