Rajasthan likely to shift tigers to 9 new locations
Rajasthan has three tiger reserves with at least 85 big cats, of which 66 are at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, 15 at Sariska Tiger Reserve and four at Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve.Updated: Jul 20, 2019 07:11 IST
The Rajasthan government is considering introducing tigers at nine locations spread over four districts in the state over the next 10 years in an effort to reduce human-wildlife conflict and provide new homes for the big cats.
State forest minister Sukhram Vishnoi told the assembly on Friday that the forest department was looking at the possibility of introducing tigers in forest areas such as Ramgarh Vishdhari, Shergarh, Kumbhalgarh, Rawli Toadgarh and Jhiri in Dholpur district, Khetri Bansiyal in Jhunjhunu district, Sultanpur (Bundi) and Shahbad (Baran). “A feasibility study in this respect will be conducted,” he said.
He said the move was to avoid the possibility of human-wildlife conflict in existing tiger habitats and relocating excess tiger. “A workshop was held in May at which the possibility for distribution of excess tigers through self dispersal, environment improvement and relocation was discussed,” he said.
Rajasthan has three tiger reserves with at least 85 big cats, of which 66 are at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, 15 at Sariska Tiger Reserve and four at Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve. Eight tigers have been relocated to Sariska from Ranthambore since 2004, and four to Mukundra in 2018 to decongest Ranthambore. A tigress was sent to Sariska from Ranthambore in January to improve the skewed sex ratio in the habitat, but it died in June after being tranquillised.
A senior forest department official said on condition of anonymity, “Relocation or developing a new habitat is part of an action plan for the next 10 years. The objective is to improve the carrying capacity of tiger reserves by village relocation and improvement in habitat, especially for Mukundra Hills and Sariska.”
Dharmendra Khandal, former member of the State Wildlife Board, appreciated the move.
But former IFS officer Sunayan Sharma termed the move to create alternate tiger habitats as “theoretical and not practical”.
Vishnoi said Sariska would soon get a special tiger security force, for which recruitment was being done. The National Tiger Conservation Authority has agreed in principle to create a similar force for Mukundra Hills, he said.
First Published: Jul 20, 2019 07:11 IST