P K Sen questions preparedness of Sariska to receive tiger

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New Delhi, Jun 29 (UNI) Eminent wildlife expert and former director of Project Tiger P K Sen has expressed doubts over survival of the tiger relocated to Sariska from Ranthambhore today in a first of its kind experiment in the world.

''I have great doubts whether Sariska is really ready to receive the animal,'' he said talking to UNI.

The sanctuary became infamous about four years ago when it was discovered that it had lost all its tiger to poaching and other reasons. The authorities then undertook a number of steps to make the sanctaury habitable for the big cat again, and finally today they reintroduced the majestic animal to its environs picking it from Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve.

''The relocation is not a big thing. The main question is whether all the conditions envisaged and recommended by experts have been ensured in the sanctaury.

The question is how long you will keep the tiger in the one hectare sqkm enclosure, and what kind of food it will be given,'' he said.

If the relocated tiger is given artificial food, then the question is whether it would be able to hunt for itself when released in the whole wild expanse, he said.

''In short, the whole exercise was beset with so many problems that even a cursory view of the whole affair would arouse many doubts about the success of the venture.

''I wish the authorities had made all these details of the relocation plan public,'' he added.

He said he felt that the relocation had been done in a hurry without making the sanctuary suitable for sustaining the tiger. For example relocation of the four villages around the Sariska forests has been recommended, but not even one village had been completely moved from there, said Mr Sen.

Sometime back, Member Secretary, Tiger Conservation Authority Rajesh Gopal had said removal of human disturbance from Sariska was a prerequisite for reintroducing tiger in the sanctuary. He had said relocation of four villages had been planned, and the animal could be put in even if relocation of two villages was completed.

However, the task of completely removing even one village has not been accomplished yet.

Besides relocation, there were a number of other obstacles too which would have to be removed, and the most difficult task was diverting the highway near the sanctuary. Speeding vehicles had run over so many animals from Sariska so far.

The sanctaury is amog the 28 Tiger reserves in the country which have come up since 1970.

Sariska forests are located in Alwar District of Rajasthan. They were declared a wildlife reserve in 1955 and a Tiger Reserve in 1978. The reserve has an area of 866 sq km and is situated 107 km north east of the state capital Jaipur.

The Project Tiger had been instituted on the basis of the report of the first Task Force on tiger headed by Dr Karan Singh. It was created after the dwindling population of tigers attracted worldwide attention in late 1060s.

UNI NAZ ARB RK1645

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