Sariska’s Tigers’ diet:77% of them consume livestock, 13.6% fall upon Sambar deer, 3.6% capture Spotted Deer, while 2.4 can catch Bluebull, and only 0.95% can procure Wild Boar. This study has been undertaken by Dr. G.S. Bhardwaj, Additional Chief Conservator of Forests, Rajasthan, at Sariska Tiger Reserve and is available at:
Future of Indian Tigers is arguably assured within the Tiger Reserves. Ironically, nearly 1/3rdof the 50 Tiger Reserves in India are facing such problems that managing them as per conservation scruples is unthinkable.
One third of total Indian Tigers are roaming outside the designated Reserves (an item appears in this issue). Owing to successful breeding and additional cubs born, the new adults are forced to seek pastures anew – they are elbowed out of parental habitats by dominating males. So they have to settle in nearby scrub zones, and remain surrounded by human beings and their livestock – countryside survival. Human-wildlife-conflicts continue unabated. Poaching comes to the fore.
Is it not true then that Tigers’ breeding rate success inside the Reserves is getting negated by uncertain fate of their new generation forced to feed for themselves in non-designated Reserves, and meet their fate untimely? Is it because the existing Reserves cannot be geographically expanded to accommodate increasing population of this wild cat? The new entrants have been reported breeding in alien zones, forest authorities confirm. Will there be another set of Reserves, non-designated, to have Tigers in good numbers, without adequate prey-base and shorn of management cover?
Tigers are under direct charge of forest authorities in each State in India. They have to receive permissions for various chores from the National Tiger Conservation Authority, based at New Delhi. Divergent thought, debate, discussion, etc., continue among them. Often most demands of Reserves pertain to increased budgetary allocations, which are hardly met. Tigers do not care for financial wrangling and continue breeding. And forced to move out? Does their future rest on rural pastures and crop fields? Project Tiger, a phenomenal success, now presenting a different facet.