Special report: Tracking the big cats of Sariska
Bahar Dutt / CNN-IBN
Published on Sat, Oct 04, 2008 at 02:07, Updated on Sat, Oct 04, 2008 at 08:09 in Nation section
Sariska (Rajasthan): The tension in Sariska National Park in Rajasthan is palpable. The tigers are back.
Sariska lost all its tigers in 2005 to massive poaching. However, in June this year, two tigers from Ranthambore were airlifted by the Indian Air Force and released into Sariska in an effort to restock the tiger back in this ecosystem.
Special tiger protection programme has been initiated by the Rajasthan government to monitor the tigers in their new habitat.
The two tigers have radio collars. However, tracking them in a 800 sq km park is not simple for forest department staff and wildlife scientists.
Head project tiger Rajesh Gopal says, “Initially, the home range was big, now the male has a large territory which is 40 sq kilometer and the female’s about 20 sq km.”
The tigers move up to 25 km a day in search of food.
Forest guard Hari Singh says, “I am tense when I am on leave because I keep wondering how my tigers must be doing. We have to keep these animals alive night and day, that’s our only concern.”
Deputy Director, Sariska National Park Sharma says, “They are prized animals for us since they came after such a long time. The entire world is watching us. We are overprotective about the tigers.”
The men heading tiger protection programme may be overprotective about the tigers, but it is their dogged commitment to bring Sariska ecosystem alive again.
The entire park seems to be teeming with life. Sariska once a blot on the history of conservation in India may just end up being a conservation success story.