The Rajasthan government has planned a corridor connecting six wildlife sanctuaries for the safety of tigers straying out of their territory, an official said Monday.
Under the ‘Tiger Biosphere Reserve’ project, the corridor will be developed connecting Keoladeo, Ranthambore, Sawai Mansingh, Ramgarh, Jawahar Sagar and Dara sanctuaries falling under Bharatpur, Sawai Madhopur, Kota and Bundi districts of the state.
A forest department officer said that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot gave his nod to the project recently. He had proposed the project in this year’s state budget.
“Due to the growing numbers of the big cats in the Ranthambore National Park, the tigers usually stray out of their territory and go missing. They become easy prey to villagers and poachers in such cases,” the officer told IANS.
The Ranthambore National Park is one of India’s Project Tiger reserves. It houses 31 adult tigers and 10 cubs. Other wild animals found there include leopards, wild pigs, deer species and monkeys.
“All the sanctuaries which will be part of the project already have dense forest areas,” said the officer, who requested not to be named as he is not authorised to speak to media.
He said all the sanctuaries have favorable conditions for rehabilitation of tigers. “The sanctuaries are connected to one another. All the forest department will have to do is ensure security. For that, relocation of villages from the project area will have to be ensured.”
The project will be developed with the help of Rs.1,153 crore worth grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for implementing the Rajasthan Forestry and Biodiversity Project (RFBP) in select areas of the state over a period of eight years between 2011 and 2019.
This is the need of hour for Ranthambore tigers. The Ranthambore tigers are highly inbred as they all descended from half a dozen tigers since 1970s and 2 large scale poaching attempts in last 20 years decimated much of the existing gene pool. Like inbred Asiatic lions, most of the current ranthambore tigers look like twins. No wonder ranthambore has been classified as TCU-III (Tiger Conservation Unit-III). That means there is no hope for long term survival of tigers in this park. The so-called experts of WII(Wildlife Institute of India) trans-located these inbred tigers to Sariska to further produce inbred weak tigers in the name of tiger revival project. The only hope for ranthambore tigers is restoring corridor connectivity with neighboring states so that tigers from new gene pool may travel into ranthambore and introduce new genes. For Sariska, there is no hope unless they borrow atleast 5 new tigers from different gene pool from Madhya Pradesh and Maharastra.