Ranthambore National Park facing tiger population explosion

Ranthambore National Park facing tiger population explosion
Representative imageIANS
At a time when the nation discusses the challenge of overpopulation and its ill effects, a new fact has emerged that tigers in the Ranthambore National Park are facing the blues of overpopulation, leading to issues like territorial fights, the big cats leaving the forests, going missing and preying upon the rural folk.

In fact, ever since after the establishment of the Reserve in 1973, the number of tigers is maximum in present times.

The number of tigers and their cubs in the adjoining areas of Ranthambore has gone up from 66 in 2019 to 81 in 2021.

Presently, the ratio of male to female tiger is 1:1.3 which is abnormal, said the Forest Department of Rajasthan in response to a question raised by Amer MLA Satish Poonia on the missing number of tigers.

On Poonia's question whether an inquiry has been conducted into the number of tigers born and missing from areas like the Ranthambore National Park, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Mukundra Hills National Park, among others, from January 2019 to January 2022, the Department said: "At present most of the 32 female tigress are in reproductive age, due to which there has been an increase in the birth of cubs. A total of 44 cubs have been born between the year 2019 to 2021. Due to the high number of tigers in the battered areas of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, there is a high number of cases of missing tigers, territorial fights and deaths."


The record submitted in the state Assembly on missing tigers revealed that a total of 13 tigers have disappeared from the Ranthambore National Park between 2019 and 2021.

Two male tigers T-20 and T-23 went missing from the park in 2019 and seven big cats -- five males named T-47, T-42 T-64, T-95, T-97 and two females T-73 and T-92 -- disappeared in 2020.

Similarly, two male tigers T-72 and T-62 and two females T-126 and T-100 went missing in 2021.

The forest officials said that the serious imbalance in tigers' gender ratio has resulted in the spurt of the big cat population, forcing many of them to either leave the park or die in fighting over territories and females.

P.S. Somashekar, a retired forest officer from Rajasthan told IANS: "As the tiger is a carnivore, it needs regular movement from one area to another, however, we have created obstructions in its movement area. The government land has been converted into agricultural land, agricultural land into commercial land and so on. Hence when the animal moves into corridor areas, it gets confused on seeing four-lane highways, dazzling lights and sounds, leading to conflict."

Another environmentalist Harshwardhan says: "The tiger faces a challenge; its forest territories are shrinking. Almost 10-15 tigers and tigresses are roaming outside almost all the best breeding reserves in India as dominant males do not let newly-born, young and sub-adult males to remain inside the park. Additional population of tigers inside reserves therefore is getting rehabilitated outside the reserves. Further, tiger corridors are missing. The outcome: many wild tigers and tigresses are poached by rural folk, or get knocked down in road accidents and mishaps.

"May be, it's time to start another Project Tiger."

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