Some great news for fans of tiger conservation, the Rajasthan government has annnounced that the Mukundra Hills Sanctuary will now be the third tiger reserve in the state. Rajasthan has been at the forefront of the global tiger conservation effort with successful tiger reserves already established at Ranthambore and Sariska.
The new reserve area at Mukundra Hills will be over 759 sq km spread between four districts of Kota, Bundi, Chittorgarh and Jhalawar near the Ranthambore tiger reserve. Nearly 417 sq km have been earmarked as the core tiger habitat while 342.82 sq km has been notified as the buffer zone. The other two tiger reserves of Ranthambore and Sariska both have core areas nearly thrice this size thereby making Mukundra Hills the smallest of the three tiger reserves in the state.
Briefing the press corps on the launch of the state’s third tiger reserve, Mr. A.S. Brar, Head of Forest Forces and Chief Wildlife Warden, Rajasthan said, "With powers bestowed under Section 38 V of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, we have declared Mukundra hills national park as a tiger reserve”.
The core area of the Mukundra reserve currently has six villages, two of which are uninhabited. Eventually all these villages will be relocated through a conservation program that is funded by the NTCA. Apart from the tigers, the sanctuary currently also has a sizeable population of wolves, sloth bears, chinkaras and leopards.
Elucidating that the declaration of the Mukundra Hill Sanctuary as a reserve will have far reaching implications for tiger conservation, Mr. Brar added, “the Mukundra hill sanctuary was already declared as the satellite core area of the Ranthambore reserve by the NTCA and tigers often stray into the area. The objective was always to link this to Ranthambore so that the tigers that stray from the park come and breed here. It was the next best forest after Ranthambore for rehabilitation of tigers. But we have went a step ahead and declared it as a reserve itself”.