Ranathambore’s last Tigers?

Posted by: Suresh K L on

While voting for opinion poll on Lions introduction in Sanctuary Asia's website, 2 things came to my mind, whether to vote for Lions to safeguard their future or to allow tigers of Ranathambore to sign off from their very home.

 

Kuno-Palpur waiting for Lions is known and equally known factor is, already 2 or 3 Tigers managed to colonize it. Although I haven't set foot either on Ranathambore or Kuno-Palpur, it seems to me that Tigers of Ranathambore are doomed once Lions are introduced into Kuno-Palpur. According to Sanctuary Asia's article "A day in the Kino Wilderness" on Feb-2012 print, Kuno-Palpur is connected on its northwestern edge to Ranathambore through Keladevi WLS through good forest patches. Everyone knows that once Lions settle down and improve their pride size, they need to disperse, the fact verified by the Lions in Saurashtra conquering new turf every year. With its low prey density, Kuno-Palpur leaves no choice for Lions but to go in search of better land. One best route they would take will be Keladevi-Ranathmbore, to colonize Ranathambore TR which in turn tigers are now using to colonise Kuno-Palpur. Once established in Ranathambore, it will be matter of time for a pride of Lions to do away with solitary living Tigers one after the other in struggle for space and food, since they won't know that Ranathmbore is a Tiger reserve meant for Tigers and nor would they give any pre intimation to either Tigers or Humans about what they intend to do. So it must be discussed and decided at the earliest, with the same heat as that of the introduction of Lions, whether the whole belt of Kuno-Keladevi-Sawai Man Singh-Ranathambore will become Lions domain or whether Tigers of Ranathmbore will continue to enjoy their hard won kingdom. In my view, any insensitive move to reintroduce Lions will be a betrayal to the Tigers of Ranathmbore.

 

In case introduction of Lions become imminent,

 

  • Sariska should be considered, with 3-5 of its non breeding Tigers moved back and replaced with Lions. Since Sariska can rank better in its prey density and security compared with Kuno-Palpur. Sariska seems to be isolated from other forests, Lion-Tiger face off is limited and government will get extra few years of time to look for similar isolated forest where 20-30 Lions could be secured in different locations of country but not to expect the magical numbers of Gir.
  • If at all, Kuno-Palpur becomes the final selection, then Ranathambore Tigers must be distributed among Sariska, Dangs forest of Gujarat and similar other Tiger depleted forests of North-Western India, there by improving gene pool.

 

Those who have better knowledge on Ranathambore-Kuno landscape and reintroduction of Lions can throw more light.