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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tigers reign as people leave

Anindo Dey, TNN | Aug 22, 2012, 01.01AM IST JAIPUR: The shifting of a few villages from the periphery of Ranthambore National Park has started showing results. The big cats, which were scrambling for space, have now more space to move around and expand their breeding zones. On Tuesday morning, tigress T-22 was seen mating with tiger T-23 in Bodal beat near Mordungri village. Thirty families from the village moved to Amli, some 35 km away in Tonk district, barely a month back. Originally consisting of about 157 families, the rest had earlier took the offer of cash package of Rs 10 lakh and relocated. "It is good news indeed. My officers were on their field trip when they sighted the two tigers barely yards away from the Mordungri village. The tigers were mating. T-22 is the mother of T-23 and T-24," said Bina Kak, minister for tourism, forests and environment. "While tracking on Tuesday around 7.30 am, I noticed fresh pugmarks on the road towards Gura and heard tigers' roar on the right. On intensive tracking, the male and female were noticed together and were seen mating 4-6 times," says Rajesh Gupta, field director, Ranthambore. Officials are hopeful that if and when T-22 litters, it would probably choose some area near Mordungri. Earlier in April, tigress T-9 had given birth to two cubs close to Padra village which was relocated in December 2011. "The relocation of Mordungri was possible because of a pivotal role played by Sawai Madhopur district collector Giriraj Singh Kushwaha. He was ably assisted by my officers. The villagers who vacated moved away on their own and were never coaxed. They were provided land as compensation apart from gas connections, poverty line cards and water supply," added Kak. Mordungri is situated at a strategic point along the corridor extending from the Ranthambore National Park and the Sawai Man Singh sanctuary. "The removal of disturbances adds to the natal area for tigers. Natal areas are breeding zones for tigers. In this case, with the villagers shifting, the tigers automatically occupied these areas for breeding. We are hopeful that the relocation of more villages will further add to the habitat of tigers here," said an official. So far, 15 villages have been relocated from Ranthambore since 1976. While 12 were relocated in that year, Indala was relocated in 2008-09. Machangi in 2009-10, Padra in 2010-11 and finally Mordungri in 2012. The relocation of these villages will add to more space for the tiger population that has been burgeoning. Currently there are about 52 tigers, including 27 cubs in the reserve. However, there are more villages awaiting relocation and officials say that Katauli and Bhid villages may be the next in line.

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