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Religious, nature tourism taking heavy toll of tiger reserve

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Sep 10 (UNI) Religious and nature tourism in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan are the biggest threat to the big cat's survival in the habitat, says a report of the Ministry of Forest and Environment.

The pressure is very high on the National Park for tigers situated within the Reserve. No visitors are interested in Kaladevi and Sawai Mansingh Wildlife sancturies, and they just concentrate on the Park.

Moreover, there is a large volume of religious tourism at the temple in Ranthambhore fort and several temples of the medieval period.

The Ranthambhore national Park with an area of 274.5 km was constituted within the Tiger Reserve in 1980.

The Report said that the pace at which the hotel and tourism infrastructure was developing in Sawai Madhopur was a matter of grave concern for the integrity of the national Park.

It said the nature based tourism was almost completely dominated by starred resorts and was confined to the National Park.

Though some of the local residents have found employment, the host community has very little opportunity of involvement. Thus those who are already rich are receiving the maximum benefits, but with no obligation to help maintain the Reserve for conservation of wildlife species.

Moreover, the report said, there has never been a systematic approach at ecodevelopment of the area. Though some progress was made under the India Ecodevelopment Project of the Centre, and 11 of the 90 villages on the peripheri of the National Park were adddressed, the system collapsed at the end of the project, as the department could not sustain the programme.

In an evaluation done by the World Conservation Union(IUCN), Ranthambhore has received poor rating--third among the poorest managed reserves after Sariska and Indravati.

The ICUN has put Ranthabhore in the manmagement cluster or paradigm with that of Sariska, and considering the current situation of Sariska, Ranthambhore is at an immediate risk with urgent remedial measures needed.

Ranthambhore was among the first nine reserves declared in 1973 at the launch of the Project Tiger in the country.

The Reserve comprises district areas with varied conservation history virtually separated geographically with narrow corridors linking them to the core of the National Park.

The main wildlife species of the Reserve inlcude tiger, leopard, ratel, jungle cat, chital, sambar, blue bell, chinkara, sloth bear, wild boar, jackal, heyna, commomn langur and common fox.

UNI NAZ AB HT1112

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