Radio collars a mating impediment?
Jaipur, Monday 30th May 2011

JAIPUR: It has been about three years since the first tiger was re-located to Sariska National Park from Ranthambhore. But so far, despite reports of tigers mating, the mystery is that they are not breeding.

This is one of the issues that the Sariska Tiger Foundation is going to discuss in Jaipur, at a technical workshop on Rebuilding Sariska: Challenges Ahead.' The workshop will include lectures on tiger reserve management, tiger monitoring and protection by various wildlife experts and delegates from wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun on Monday.

According to Sunayan Sharma senior vice president Sariska Tiger Foundation, "All matings have failed in delivering any litter. This is a matter of serious concern. On the other hand Panna is a success story. There must be some scientific explanation behind this mystery. Scientists should find answers to this question. May be that can give input to the reserve management which help the tigresses breed. If the radio collar is causing any kind of disturbance than may be it can be removed early as the animal gets settled in the new location."

The thought echoes similar opinion expressed earlier by K L Saini (retd) IFS and former field director Tiger Project Sariska from 1984 to 88 who felt that even while the radio collars were one of the best ways to monitor tiger movement, once the tiger establishes its territory and before the start of mating season, the radio collars should be removed from at least the female's neck.

"My submission that the radio collars might be a hindrance at the time of mating is on the basis of dealing with tigers in national parks, Wildlife sanctuaries and zoos' during my service of 30 years. And a little knowledge about the sexual behaviour of tigers and all other cats would justify that radio collars be removed from the neck of the female cats after they settle in their territories for successful revival of tigers in Sariska," said Saini.

Among the other issues is also the rehabilitation of Bawarias the hunter gatherer community which is skilled only in hunting and till date this is the main source of their livelihood.

"Surprisingly they have been kept deprived of the benefits of various governmental schemes, basically launched to benefit such poor sections of the society. They have not been issued Voter I.D./B.P.L.cards. They are even deprived of employment under Narega. In this matter I have been trying hard from this organisation s side for last one yr. with the district administration but of no avail," said Dinesh Durrani founder and general secretary Sariska Tiger Foundation.