SAARC ministers to visit Sariska today

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SAARC ministers to visit Sariska today

TNN 20 October 2009, 05:41am IST

JAIPUR: Environment ministers and other dignitaries of SAARC nations, who have assembled in Delhi for a two-day meet on climate change, will visit the Sariska tiger reserve on Tuesday. Their effort is to get a first hand account of tiger conservation, said sources.

Poached of all its tigers, Sariska made history of sorts when it re-introduced the big cat last year. It was a first of its kind translocation of tigers in the country in recent memory. The shifting of a female tiger was followed by the translocation of a male and another female. All the tigers were relocated from the Ranthambore tiger reserve.

“The dignitaries from the SAARC countries are visiting India for attending a meeting on climate change. The reintroduction of the tiger at Sariska is a unique effort in conservation of tigers in the country. The visiting dignitaries would be apprised of all the efforts that went in to the translocation of the tiger. A short documentary film on the translocation would also be screened for the occasion,” said a senior forest official.

The tigers have settled well in Sariska and are making kills and state forest officials hope that they will soon go the family way. Plans are also on the anvil for the relocation of more tigers from Ranthambore.

Sariska had lost all its tigers by 2005 due to rampant poaching. Poachers in collusion with smugglers had killed all the animals and the reserve was deprived of its entire populace of big cats. The reintroduction of the tiger is a bid to help re-establish their population in the sanctuary.

“The environment ministers of Maldives and Afghanistan along with some 47 delegates are coming to Sariska on Tuesday morning. They are already in Delhi. Later, they would be joined by the environment minister of four more countries,” said a senior official.

On Tuesday, the delegates and the ministers would be given a presentation on tiger conservation in the sub-continent by director of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) Rajesh Gopal. After the presentation, a film on the relocation of the tigers from Ranthambore to Sariska would be screened. On Wednesday, they would be taken for a trip to the sanctuary.

SAARC countries like Bhutan and Bangladesh have tigers in the wild but the count is too low compared to India which has around 1,400 big wild cats according to the estimate of Wildlife Institute of India as against 10,000 a decade ago.

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