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About Ranthambhore National Park


Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest national parks in northern India. It is situated in Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, about 110 km north east of Kota and 130 km south east of Jaipur, which is also the nearest airport. The nearest town and railway station is at Sawai Madhopur, about 11 km away; Kota is another convenient station as many trains stop there. RIDCOR operates a mega highway between Kota and Ranthambhore.

Ranthambhore was established as the Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955 by the Government of India, and was declared one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973. Ranthambore became a national park in 1980. In 1984, the adjacent forests were declared the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and Keladevi Sanctuary, and in 1991 the tiger reserve was enlarged to include the Sawai Man Singh and Keladevi sanctuaries.

Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary is known for its tigers and is one of the best places in India to see these majestic predators in the jungle. Tigers can be easily spotted even during the day time. A good time to visit Ranthambore National Park is in November and May when the nature of the dry deciduous forests makes sightings common. Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India.

The park lies at the edge of a plateau, and is bounded to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River. There are several lakes in the park. It is named for the historic Ranthambhore fortress, which lies within the national park. The park covers an area of 392 km², and is known for its tiger population, and is one of India's Project Tiger reserves. Other major wild animals include leopard, nilgai, wild boar, sambar, hyena, sloth bear and chital. It is also home to wide variety of trees, plants, birds and reptiles. Ranthambore is also the site of one of the largest banyan trees in India.


Wildlife

Ranthambore is best known for its large tiger population. As tourism in the park increased, so did the population of neighbouring villages. This led to increasing amounts of fatal human-tiger interactions and poaching. The Indian Government started Project Tiger in 1973 with an allotted area of 60 mi2. It was later expanded to become what is now called, the Ranthambore National Park. Besides tigers, the reserve has thriving bird population with more than 270 different species of birds here.[1] In 2005, there were 26 tigers living in Ranthambore. This was significantly lower than the recorded tiger population of the reserve in 1982, which then stood at 44. According to non-government sources there were 34 adult tigers in the Ranthambore National Park in 2008. More than 14 tiger cubs were also recorded. This was largely attributed to sustained efforts by forest officials to curb poaching. Villagers in the region were being given incentives to stay out of the park and surveillance cameras were also fitted across the reserve.[2] The Indian government also committed US$153 million for the efforts.[2] These efforts have been successful with Ranthambore having enough tigers to participate in the Sariska Tiger Reserve relocation efforts.[3] The first aerial relocation of the male tiger (Dara) from Ranthambore to Sariska was done using a Mi-17 helicopter on 28 Jun 2008 by Wing Commander Vimal Raj. Unfortunately, this translocated tiger died on 15 November 2010 due to unknown reasons.


Tigers

During the past few years, there has been a decline in tiger population in Ranthambore due to poaching and other reasons. However there were some tigers who succeeded in passing on their genes even in such circumstances. A tigress known as "Lady of the Lakes" was, at a very young age, separated from her parents due to increased poaching in the area. The young tigress was called Macchli since she had a mark on her body which resembled a fish. She mated with a male who resided just beside her territory and gave birth to three female cubs, one being dubbed 'Macchli - The Junior' in a documentary. Despite Macchli also being the name of her mother, the young cub found herself stuck with the designation. The father of the younger Macchli died early due to an unknown disease, which was confirmed when forest officer Fateh Singh Rathore saw him in Ranthambore. After this, the junior Macchli found the scent of a different male, known as Bumburam, and mated with him. She gave birth to two cubs; Slant Ear and Broken Tail. Baccha is believed to be her grandson.