Sariska Tiger Reserve

INTRODUCTION

The Sariska Tiger reserve is one of the most famous national parks in India located in the Alwar District in the State of Rajasthan.

Originally a hunting preserve of the erstwhile Alwar State, the area was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955. In 1978 it was given the status of a tiger reserve making it a part of India's Project Tiger Scheme.

This park is situated two hundred Kilometers (200KM) from Delhi and one-hundred seven Kilometers (101KM) from Jaipur. Although larger than Ranthanbor, it is less commercialized and topographic. It covers an area of eight hundred kilometers (800sq.Km) in total with a core area of approximately five- hundred square kilometers ( 500sq.km). The northern Aravalli Hills dominate the skyline with their mixture of sharp cliffs and long narrow valleys. The area and landscape of Sariska comprises of hills and narrow valleys of the Aravalli hill range. The topographic of Sariska supports scrub thorn arid forests, dry deciduous forests, rocks and grasses. The broad range of wildlife here is a wonderful example of ecological adoption and tolerance, for the climate here is variable as well as area is divided into the grasslands, dry deciduous forests, sheer cliffs and rocky landscape. Whether you want to have camel safaris, go out for shopping in the surrounding places and palaces, Sariska is the best suited.

FAUNAL POPULATION

The Sariska Tiger reserve is home to several carnivores including leopard, wild Dog, jungle cat, hyena, jackal and tiger.

These feed on an abundance of prey species such as Sambar, Chital, Nilgai, Jackal and Tiger Chausingha, Wild Boar and Langur. Sariska is also well known for its large population of rhesus Monkey. It is home to India's largest population of peafowl, harbowes quail, sand grouse, golden-backed woodpeckers and crested serpent eagles among other species.

The reserve's tiger population nearly disappeared in 2005, however after sustained efforts by wildlife institute of India (WLL) and state government of Rajasthan, the crises was averted.

RECENT STUDY OF TWO TIGERS AT SARISKA

Two tigers relocated from Ranthambore to Sariska reserve two months ago are now "well settled" but they are showing no eagerness towards mating, leading experts to suspect that the tigress may already to pregnant.

The movements of the two are being tracked through several methods including satellite images obtained from Canada based Argos. The animals are also wearing radio-collars with very high frequency transmitters.

An analyses of their movement show that they have settled well but there was "no signs of female seeking or showing any eagerness to look for a male companion for mating", expert said.

"It's already been two months since they were first released here. As there are no sings so far of tigress looking for a male as usually is the case in the species, it might be possible that she is already pregnant and is ready to produce off springs," said K.Sankar a senior scientist from wild-life institute of India.

However, the officials said the four near old Tigress health status will be clear only after August- end as the gestation period is three months for predator like them. Apart from her movements, there are also strong reasons to believe that she may have already conceived who she was brought to Sariska, Sankar who is one of the team members monitoring the tigress, said."

"She was already in her mature stage (for mating) when she was picked from her earlier home in Ranthambore so our guesses that she is pregnant might be true". He added. The satellite images show that the relocated tiger and tigress have adjusted to the new habitat in the park spread over 815 sq. Kilometers with a rich prey base. Another cause for concern is inbreeding. What is not known is if both these relocated tigers are of same bloodline. This crucial because feline mortality is known to be high because of inbreeding it is also not known from which range these two tigers were selects for relocation.

However, Dr. VB Mathur, dean of wildlife institute of India, Dehradun, is positive about the relocation. He says from both the ecological standpoint as well as from the management perspective, it is a sound and pragmatic decision to relocate tigers into Sariska. Genetic studies have not yet been conducted on tiger populations in Ranthambore so it would only be 'conjecture' to say anything on genetic implications of translocation. The managers and scientists are aware of genetic consequences.

It is being said that proper breeding practices are one of the major process involved in the sustained preservation of the tiger species else, we may face some drastic problems.

WAY TO REACH THE RESERVE

The avian population in the park is also very healthy. During late summer and in the monsoon months, it is possible to find large number of peacock in their dancing posture.

The idle way to explore the reserve is in your own vehicle. To go onto the jungle routes, you need to take an authorize guide. These guides can be booked at the receptions of most of the hotels at entrance, the park office and at the entrance. The other way that one can explore the remote areas of the jungle is by hiring a jeep from government authority.

DIFFICULTIES AND CAUTIONS WHILE EXPLORING THE RESERVE


Language is one of the major problems in Sariska. People generally speak their local language, the educated once speak English. You may face difficulty in finding your kind of food. Except from some luxurious hotels, you may not find your choice of food.

Do not disturb the local culture and the local atmosphere. Try to be well informed about the routes and the place you are going to visit. Any illegal activity like hunting is harshly punishable by law.

PROBLEMS OF RESERVE

The reserve covers quit a large area of eight-hundred square kilometers, and around four hundred eighty kilometers square forms the core area of the national park. It is located among the Aravalli hill ranges in Alwar district of Rajasthan.

Due to the presence of movements of religious importance located within the park boundaries, the park authority are compelled to keep the park open throughout the year.

Unfortunately, the only restrictions they are able to impose during this 'off, season' period are those on entry into the jungle routes. The main road is kept open all year round. The main-road is kept open all year round which always a source of problem for the faunal population of the Sariska forest reserves.

WHY TO SAVE TIGER ?

Tigers are symbol of wilderness and well being of the ecosystem. By conserving and saving tigers the entire wilderness ecosystem is conserved. In nature, barring human beings and their domesticates, rest of the ecosystem is wild. Hence conserving wilderness is important and crucial to maintain the life support system. So saving tiger amounts to saving the ecosystem which is crucial for man's own survival.

Thanks to carnivores, such as tigers that the number of herbivores is kept in check. In turn, the populations can therefore only fluctuate between certain limits because of this "feedback' mechanism".

With the number of herbivores under control, but not depleted, the forest vegetation is likely to thrive provided humans do not over exploit it. Seeds will be deposited and dispersed by new growth will not be prevented by excessive grazing pressure. Healthy vegetation protects the rainwater and safe-guards the water-table. Many forests are important catmints areas for rivers, upon which many species, including human beings, depend.

Species at the top of the food chain are generally larger and require more space than other animals, particularly if they are territorial. Conserving such species in the wild protects the habitat of many other animals, as well as safeguarding the essential ecological processes such as water and nutrient cycling. Thus tiger is the guardian of many others.

REASON FOR ENDANGERED STATUS

Tigers are facing major population losses and extinction because of the following major reasons :
Tigers are killed for sports, skins and body parts.
The 1950s saw extinction of the Caspian tiger. The Bali tiger was seen in 1937. India today has greatest number of tigers.
The tigers are endangered because it is poached for various illegal purposes.
Another reason is habitat loss due to depletion of forest cover interference of humans and encroachment of forest land by people causing fragmentation. At the end of the century there were reportedly 4,000 tigers remaining in the wild.

CONSERVATION STEPS

Proper steps and measures are being taken in the conservation process at the Sariska Tiger Reserve. Supported by a team of specialists including conservationists, ornithologist, wetland specialist and lawyers, the reserve is working at a great pace to stop the activities of poaching or any other crimes.

They make proper arrangement for fitting, breeding and other related problems to increase the tiger population.

A group called Tarun Bharat Sangh was set up for this purpose. The task was to achieve through a wider, wiser use of their local resources. The activities included health, education and plantations.

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