Steps mooted to protect straying Ranthambore Park tigers

March 29th, 2011 - 1:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, March 29 (IANS) The union ministry of environment and forest plans to take steps to ensure the safety of the tigers that sneak out of the Ranthambore National Park in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan, an official said Tuesday.

“The ministry has sought suggestions from the state forest department after (environment minister) Jairam Ramesh held a meeting with some international experts on tiger conservation in New Delhi recently,” a senior state forest department official told IANS.

Tigers straying out of the national park are usually killed by the villagers, who fear for the safety of their families and livestock. These tigers are also vulnerable to be hunted by poachers.

“The tigers who stray out of their territory are usually at the receiving end of the villagers as the big cats make their livestock - especially buffalos - their prey,” he added.

“At present, at least two tigers have strayed out of their territory. Forest department teams are searching for them for the last couple of months,” said the officer.

In fact, with the increase in tiger numbers, Ranthambore National Park is now grappling with a different kind of a problem.

According to a forest department sources, there are 36 tigers and 9 cubs in and around the park, a 13 percent increase in the last four years.

This increase has resulted in bloody clashes between the big cats, often leading to serious injuries to them.

Tigers are fiercely protective of their territories. A tigress may have a territory of 20 sq km, while the male may cover 40-80 sq km and even more.

“Ranthambore has almost reached its carrying capacity and tigers are moving out into the human territory, and thus once again exposing the man-animal conflict. Steps are needed to check this,” said Babu Lal Jaju, an animal activist.

Ranthambore National Park is spread over an area of around 400 sq km. If the adjoining Sawai Man Singh sanctuary is taken into consideration, the total area is around 500 sq km.

The park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1957, and gained the protection of the central government’s ‘Project Tiger’ scheme in 1974. It was designated a national park in 1981.

The latest tiger census released in Delhi Monday put the number of tigers in India at 1,706, marking an increase of 295 over the last census in 2006.

The Sundarbans mangrove forests in West Bengal, included for the first time in the census, reported 70 tigers. The rest of the country now has 1,636 tigers, marking an increase of 12 percent over the 2006 figure of 1,411 tigers. The tiger population in the world is around 3,000.

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