What Ails Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve? That is the question in everybody's mind. This reserve has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Tourism pressure: We had earlier seen the pressure due to unrestrained tourism on the park. Tourists were not even allowing a tigress to cross the road or stalk its prey. In one incident, the popular tigress (Christened T17 and radio collared) jumped aside to evade being hit when a Safari jeep screeched to a halt. For further details check here:
The amount of plastic water bottles strewn all over the place is terrible. Also, there is a steady and heavy pilgrim traffic to the forest. Though the park has been closed for offseason, the relentless pilgrim traffic continues as there is no offseason for pilgrims.
The number of hotels has multiplied manifold and has virtually cut off the animal movement in the buffer area.
For further details please check the IndiaWilds Newsletter Vol 2 Issue V
In an incident earlier, two tiger adolescents were poisoned by villagers. Unfortunately, they were released as the forest department didn't file charges within the stipulated period. Further details can be found here:
Villagers who poisoned tiger cubs released as officials fail to file charges
And in the latest event, a tiger had come out of the park and had killed cattle. It should be noted that in the rainy season, the prey come out of the park into the buffer zone and the predators follow those. And due to the rampant grazing in the buffer zone, the tigers come in contact with the cattle and kill them occassionally.
In this situation, a huge crowd had gathered and were pelting stones. The forest department had failed to move the crowd back. In that scenario, they tried to tranquilise the tiger. One of the rangers moved close to the tiger, who was probably improperly tranquilised and it attacked the ranger. This was photographed by a biologist Dharmendra Khandal. Unfortunately, the forest department seems to be trying to kill the messenger as it has slapped him with an FIR. Further details from this Hindustan Times article.
Biologist booked for cat attack pictures
Rashpal Singh, Hindustan Times
Jaipur, August 24, 2010
Rajasthan police have booked 12 persons, including Dharmendra Khandal who clicked the pictures of a tiger attacking a forest ranger, in Ranthambore National Park on Friday.
The Sawai Madhopur district police lodged the first information reports on Sunday night, accusing the 12 persons of disrupting government business, abusing forest employees and violation of the Wildlife Protection Act.
HT carried the pictures of an enraged big cat on the outskirts of the park, attacking forest ranger Daulat Singh Sakhtawat, who is feared to have lost his right eye, besides receiving serious brain injuries.
But Khandal, a biologist with Tiger Watch Foundation, said, “The charges against me are baseless.” Claiming to be first person to point out lapses of the park management, he said, “I am a victim of whistle blowing.”
Ranthambore district forest officer, R.S. Shekhawat, however, said, “The villagers and the other persons instigated the tiger by shouting at it and clicking photos. The tiger could not get away as it was surrounded from all sides.”
“Daulat Singh was pressured by these persons to tranquilise the tiger even though he was not willing to do that,” he added.
Shekhawat said the ranger hit the tiger twice with darts. But as he went close to ensure it was tranquilised, someone enraged the animal by throwing a stone at it. State forest minister Ram Lal Jat, meanwhile, said the state might give the ranger and forest guards special awards for bravery.
The source article from Hindustan Times can be found at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryP...t/590907.aspx#