Sariska may see two more tigers this rainy season

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Sariska may see two more tigers this rainy season

Sunny Sebastian
The Hindu
Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Sunday, Jun 27, 2010

JAIPUR: Call them monsoon tigers, for this time round too the rainy season will mark the arrival of tigers in Sariska. As soon as the season’s first showers lash the slopes of the mighty Aravallis, another pair of wild tigers would be shifted to Sariska Tiger Reserve from Ranthambhore National Park. The twosome—a male and a female—would join the group of one male and two females which have already made the Sariska woods their home since the first ever tiger re-location in the country two years ago.

“The temperature has to come down. We cannot release the tigers if the temperature is above 40 degrees C. The ideal situation to carry out the exercise is the rainy season,” says the Chief Wildlife Warden of Rajasthan, R. N. Mehrotra.

“Now that the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests has given clearance for another round of re-location, we have started the preparations. It can happen some time in the first fortnight of July,” Mr. Mehrotra reveals.

Environmentalists and tiger lovers are happy about the end to the impasse over tiger-shifting as after an unsavoury controversy over the wisdom of bringing together the tigers from the same gene pool the National Tiger Conservation Authority had started acting tough on the issue. Though still positive about the re-introduction of the tiger population in Sariska – after the reserve lost all its tigers some time in 2004-05– the Authority had asked the State forest officials to catch the young tigers which have been straying outside the Ranthambhore Park.

The change in the attitude of both the Authority and Union Minister Jairam Ramesh appears to be due partly to a recent report from environmentalist Aparajita Datta of the Mysore-based National Conservation Foundation which termed the attempt to catch the tigers outside the Park “difficult” due to their elusive nature as well as the tough terrain they are stalking. Ms. Datta, also a member of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, suggested depending on the knowledge of the field staff as the basis for the selection of the “suitable pair”.

“She has recommended the selection of a pair from the 10-odd young tigers identified by us already. They have to be young, transient in nature and unsettled,” says Mr. Mehrotra. As far as possible the attempt would be to carry out the genetic analysis of the chosen tigers so that the new ones are not related to the three tigers already in Sariska.

The first tiger—a male—was airlifted from Ranthambhore and released in Sariska on June 28, 2008. The second, a female, was moved to the new area through the same process in July the same year. The third, another female feline, was flown in in February 2009. All three have lived happily since then but the only complaint seems to be that there are no little ones snorting around even when the couple re-located to the Panna tiger reserve in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh much later has multiplied.

Though dates are not official yet, July 4 could be an ideal day to watch out for the tiger to burn bright in Sariska once again!

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