Park Round up – Part one. A tiger boom.
Ranthambhore is experiencing a boom time when it comes to its tigers. However, just like our stock markets, nature too is turbulent, with cycles of boom and bust, either naturally inspired or human enduced. With modern techniques of wildlife management both can be reduced, but the cyclical tide of nature will never be completely avoided.
Everyone talks about Ranthambhore, but infact the Tiger Reserve's status covers three separate parks, each with their own status, rules and protection cover. These are Ranthambhore National park, the most well-known of the parks, and the most visited, within which the great fort and numerous lakes exist. Then to the south is the Sawai Mansingh sanctuary, named after the ancient ruling dynasty of Jaipur that once owned these landscapes, and lastly to the north the Kailadevi Sanctuary. Though these three parks cover over 1134 square kilometres, the ground reality is that only about 550 to 600 square kilometres of this is suitable for tigers and their prey. The remainder, mostly in Kailadevi sanctuary is overrun by villagers and their livestock, degraded and devoid of enough prey for tigers to survive for long periods.
Let's not forget that Ranthambhore National park was exactly the same as Kailadevi is today, only 40 years ago, when the first villagers were relocated. Now though many village communities in Kailadevi have been notified for relocation, it will be a little time before this is possible, and this area can once again be restored to wildlife and create even more restored and protected habitat.
Today Ranthambhore has 14 adult females and 12 male tigers, with a total of 22 cubs and sub adults, 13 of which are male cubs and 8 of them female cubs. This finds us with a total number of 48 individuals today. (Sadly Satra T17 is still missing at the time of writing)
But this is not all. Ranthambhore has had extraordinary success over the recent years in not only translocating tigers to Sariska Tiger Reserve nearby, but also of male tigers taking the gap, and finding new territories, often hundreds of miles, from their homes. The latest reported in February this year was that of T26’s cub, who travelled to the Datiya forests of Madhya Pradesh, over 200 kilometres away. 3 other migrants are also known about over the last three years and their movements followed by teams from the Forest department and Tigerwatch to Kuno Pulpar park and a forest near Kota. These noteworthy adventurers, who departed for lack of space in their own birthplace, will ensure the genetic diversity of their species across these landscapes for generations of these big cats to come.
Enjoyed this? Next week - The blooming of Ranthambhore tigresses.