November 30, 2006

Sariska on road to recovery

JAIPUR: Sariska is being put on the road to reform. In an attempt to ensure safety of wildlife in the reserve, the Rajasthan government has decided to construct an alternate road, bypassing the one running through the reserve.

The bypass road will ensure that vehicles do not enter Sariska and threaten the wildlife, especially the tigers.

At present, a road linking Jaipur with Alwar via Thanagai passes through Sariska and heavy vehicles plying on it have been creating problems for the wildlife.

The vehicles increase pollution, affecting the animals. Now we have decided to construct a bypass to divert the vehicles from Narayanpura.

"It will also help us monitor wildlife movement more efficiently," a senior forest official said.

Sariska, spread over 881 sq km, has been in news due to disappearance of tigers. A March 2005 report by the Wildlife Institute of India said there were no tigers left in Sariska, whereas an official census conducted in 2004 had indicated that 16 to 18 tigers lived in the reserve.

But from the middle of the year, no tigers have been spotted.Enquiries revealed the national animal was killed by poachers. Even leopards were targeted. The forest department and state government faced criticism on this issue.

Following this, the state government had submitted a detailed project to the Centre for rehabilitation of tigers in Sariska, which was sanctioned in October. The construction of the bypass is part of this rehabilitation plan.

"The Centre has sanctioned the Sariska recovery plan. Once we get the funds we will start undertaking the operation," the official said.

The forest department, along with officials working on the tiger project, will discuss shifting of four villages located in the vicinity of the Sariska reserve.

Once the plan is implemented, tigers would once again be part of the reserve

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Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore, And the individual withers, and the world is more and more. -- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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