SAARC delegation visits Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan

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Sariska (Rajasthan), Oct.21 (ANI): A team of ministers and officials of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations is on a visit to the famed Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan to know about the country's success in tiger conservation.

The delegation visited the sanctuary on Tuesday night and is also scheduled to go around the sanctuary to get a first-hand experience on India's efforts in conserving tigers on Wednesday (October 21).

The SAARC ministers, who have come to India to take part in the two-day meeting on climate change being hosted in the national capital, New Delhi, were welcomed at Sariska in traditional Indian way.

The visitors were given a detailed description as to how with utmost care the tigers were relocated.

In one of the instances, a female tiger was relocated in Sariska wildlife sanctuary, when the mafia of poachers reportedly wiped out all the tigers here. Later, she was put in the company of a tiger and two more tigresses. All of them were relocated from the Ranthambore tiger reserve, a place also located in Rajasthan.

The SAARC delegates lauded the success story of the reintroduction of tigers to conserve them.

Kamran Lashari, Secretary of Pakistan's Environment Ministry was all praise for the Indian wildlife rangers initiative in conservation programme and said his ministry is also preserving wildlife species proactively.

"We have brown bear, tiger and all sorts of other animals especially in northern areas... in Baltistan, the Himalayas in K2. We take care of them. We also take care that they are not illegally poached," said Kamran Lashari, Secretary with the Environment Ministry of Pakistan.

Prince Mohammed Mustafa Zahir, Director-General of Environment Protection, Government of Afghanistan observed that such an effort will help to preserve the fast dwindling number of the wild cat.

Ruing that the last tiger in Afghanistan was shot dead decades ago, Prince Zahir said other countries can take a leaf out of India's success story and preserve tigers.

"The conservation project will protect tigers in India. This project with... is an example for other countries. My colleagues have done a great job. I look forward very much to see one of the magnificent creatures of God tomorrow," said Prince Mohammed Mustafa Zahir, Director-General of Environment Protection, Afghanistan on Tuesday night.

All the tigers in Sariska became victims of poachers by 2005 and the reintroduction of the wild cats will help restore their population in the sanctuary.

According to government data, India has little over than 1,400 tigers, against 10,000 a couple of decades ago.

Sariska National Park is home to numerous carnivores including the Leopard, Wild Dog, Jungle Cat, Hyena, Jackal, and Tiger. These feed on an abundance of prey species such as Sambar, Chitel, Nilgai, Chausingha, Wild Boar and Langur. Sariska is also well known for its large population of Rhesus Monkeys, which are found in large numbers around Talvriksh.

The avian world is also well represented with a rich and varied birdlife. These include Peafowl, Grey Partridge, Bush Quail, Sand Grouse, Tree Pie, Golden backed Wood Pecker, Crested Serpent Eagle and the Great Indian Horned Owl.

Within the Sariska wildlife sanctuary there are the ruins of medieval temples of Garh-Rajor, belonging to the 10th and 11th centuries. A 17th century castle on a sharp hilltop at Kankwari, provides a panoramic view of flying Egyptian vultures and eagles. The area was declared a sanctuary in 1955 and became a National Park in 1979. By Prashant (ANI)

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