|A tale of two tiger reserves
Jaipur, March 21, 2012
After Panna's successful rewilding, Sariska is sanguine
there was the Sariska debacle in which all the tigers were found
missing in the reserve in Rajasthan's Alwar district sometime in
2004-05. Then there was similar misfortune in Madhya Pradesh's Panna
Tiger Reserve in February 2009 — the wild cats became extinct there.
led the way soon by reintroducing tigers under a recovery plan with the
support of the National Tiger Conservation Authority in June 2008.
followed suit in March 2009. It reintroduced one female each from
Bhandavgarh and Kanha. Thereafter, it appears, both the reserves
charted their own journeys.
The Panna experiment turned out to
be a big success. The 576-sq.km reserve, spread over Panna and
Chattarpur districts eof Madhya Pradesh, soon became home to a
flourishing population of big cats. The reserve, 25 km from Khajuraho,
once ravaged by problems, has now 12 tiger cubs, besides the five
adults brought in as part of the reintroduction. And that gives
Sariska, the leader, a complex, for its three tigresses are yet to give
The tale of the two reserves came in for comparison
this weekend at Alwar when the main protagonists of the tiger
reintroduction process got together to discuss the rebuilding of
“Where there is a will there is a way,” said R.
Sreenivasa Murthy, Field Director in the Panna Tiger Reserve, giving a
presentation on tiger relocation and their successful breeding.
Panna story included the truancy of the lone male, which apparently
showed “homing” instincts to repeatedly move in the direction of Pench
— it had to be brought back with the help of 70-strong forest staff and
four elephants for a second time.
The Panna experiment did not
stop at just reintroduction. The park authorities opened a new chapter
in conservation by introducing two orphaned female cubs to the reserve
in March 2011. They were the litters of a collared tigress that got
killed in a fight with another in Kanha in May 2005. They were picked
up and hand-reared for one-and-half years to be released into an
enclosure in Kanha.
“The Panna team met with success in the
rewilding of the tiger. One of them, T4, delivered cubs in November
2011,” said Mr. Murthy.