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RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK OF RAJASTHAN IN INDIA

Ranthambore National Park is the only dry deciduous tiger habitat in the world and probably the best place in the world to see wild tigers. The Ranthambore National Park, which is a part of the much larger Ranthambore tiger reserve, a Project tiger reserve, lies in the Sawai Madhopur district of eastern Rajasthan. It is the only forest reserve in Rajasthan state and in the entire Aravali hill ranges where wild Bengal tigers still exist. The dry deciduous habitat of the reserve makes it much easier to find and observe tigers in their natural wild habitat.

Ranthambore National Park is dotted with structures that remind you of bygone eras. There are many water bodies located all over the park, which provide perfect relief during the extremely hot summer months for the forest inhabitants. A huge fort, after which the park is named, towers over the park atop a hill. There are many ruins of bygone eras scattered all over the jungle, which give it a unique, wonderful and mixed flavours of nature, history and wildlife. Tigers at Ranthambore National park have been known to even hunt in full view of human visitors. These tigers are famous for being seen in the daytime too, due to their lack of fear of human presence in vehicles. This lack of fear of humans is excellent for tourists, as they get to see the tigers often.

This National park is a wildlife enthusiast and photographer's dream. All the Tiger safaris in the Reserve are conducted inside the National park. The park is open to tourists during October-June, and receives more than 100,000 wildlife enthusiasts every year from all over the world. In Nutshell, Ranthambore National park is a wildlife enthusiast and photographer's dream.

Sariska National Park near Alwar of Rajasthan in India

History of Ranthambore National Park of Rajasthan, India

During the 19th century there was excellent forest cover almost all over India. The population density was very low and exploitation of forests to fulfill local needs was negligible. During that period the forests of Ranthambhore were the private and exclusive hunting reserves of the Jaipur and Karauli royal family. These forests were managed by the Shikar Khana Department (Hunting Department) of the state. The local villagers were allowed to take many kinds of forest produces in unlimited quantities for their private use, after payment of an annual tax (called Babs). In selected areas of the forests of Ranthambore, which were used for hunting by the royalty, grazing and tree felling were strictly forbidden, but there were few restrictions, elsewhere. However, due to the low population density, there was hardly any damage to these dry deciduous forests and its wildlife.

By the end of the first quarter of the 20th century, the need for conservation of forests and wildlife was being felt all over India. The population was growing rapidly and the forests were coming under pressure. In Ranthambore, the system of "royalty permits" for commercial felling (mainly for firewood and charcoal) of entire blocks of forests was taking its toll. In 1925, the Jaipur state created a post of Superintendent of Forests and in 1939 the Jaipur Forest Act was enacted. The Rajasthan forest Act was enacted in 1953, giving these forests some legal protection. In 1955, these forests were declared as "Sawai Madhopur sanctuary" and the practice of sale of forest produce through "royalty permits" came to an end. This was when the forests of Ranthambore received their first "real" protection. However, legal hunting continued unabated till 1973 and by then the tiger population was almost totally decimated.

In 1973 a part of this Sawai Madhopur sanctuary came under Project tiger scheme. At that time there were 16 villages inside the sanctuary but between 1976 and 1979, 12 of these villages were shifted outside the sanctuary. In 1980, in order to give greater protection to the forests, an area of 282.03 sq. k.m. of the inner part of Sawai Madhopur sanctuary was declared as national park. Since then the state Government stopped collection of any forest produce from sanctuary and national parks. In the year 1983, 647 Sq. Km of forests lying to the North of the National park were declared as the Kela Devi Sanctuary and included in the Tiger Project. Similarly, in 1984, 130 Sq. Km of forests lying to the South of the Ranthambore National Park were declared as Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary and included in Tiger Project.

During the 1970s, tiger sightings were extremely rare in Ranthambore but by the mid and late 1980s, as a result of the decade long protection given to the forests, Ranthambore became one of the best places in the world to see wild tigers. Ranthambore tiger reserve attained notoriety for illegal poaching of tigers in the year 1992.. Since then the forest authorities became very strict and now, generally speaking, poaching is not a serious threat in these forests. Since 1992, the tiger population has gradually recovered and in 2002 the Park boasted of nearly 40 tigers, a density of nearly 10 tigers per 100 Sq. Km - which is one of the highest in the world.

In 2003 and 2004, disaster struck Ranthambhore's tigers once again. A census conducted by the Rajasthan State Empowered committee showed that there were only 26 tigers in entire reserve and all of them were with in the national park. The other areas of the reserve were totally devoid of tigers. In 2005, the Rajasthan and the Indian central government set up high powered committees to look into the state of Ranthambore and to suggest measures to improve the situation. This put the spotlight back on Ranthambore and the tiger crisis in India (what is now being called the "third tiger crisis") and since then the forest and the police department intensified the protection around the tiger reserve. There have been no reports of tiger poaching from around Ranthambore from the beginning of 2005 and a large number of tiger cubs were born between the summer of 2005 and the summer of 2006. A very detailed census that was carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India using camera traps between 2006 and 2007 showed that there were 31 tigers in Ranthambhore national park.

Geography of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

The Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is the single largest expanse of dry deciduous Anogeissus pendula Forest left intact in India. Such forests were found all along the North and Central Aravalis but in the last few decades they have been badly degraded and right now this Tiger Reserve is their last strong hold. In Ranthambore the bio diversity is made even richer by the intrusion of the Vindhyan hill system.

The Chambal River forms a natural boundary of the Ranthambore national park towards the east, and on the eastern shore of Chambal lies the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. To the northeast of the Ranthambhore national park, flows the river - Banas, a tributary of Chambal. Across the river Banas, lies the Keladevi sanctuary, while the Sawai Man Singh wildlife sanctuary lies to the south of the Park. Both these sanctuaries, along with the Ranthambhore national park, are part of the Ranthambore tiger reserve. Today, this Project tiger reserve spans over 1334 sq. km of area, of which 282 sq. km is the Ranthambore national park.

The entire Tiger Reserve stretches in a North-East to South-West direction for a distance of over 70 kilometers. To the extreme North-East lies the Kela Devi Sanctuary, south-west of which (and across the river Banas) lies the Ranthambore National Park. The Sawai Madhopur Sanctuary, followed by the Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary and the Qualji Closed Area lies further South-West of the park.

Ranthambhore is where the Aravali and the Vindhyan hill ranges meet and this confluence is perhaps the reason for the rich bio diversity of the Ranthambore. The geological formations of Vindhyan system are characterized by flat table tops locally known as 'Dang' , while the Aravallis are characterized by sharp ridges and conical hill tops. An important geological fault line - the Great Boundary Fault - lies at the confluence of the Aravali and the Vindhyan systems - and runs right across Ranthambore national park.

The Ranthambore tiger reserve is also a crucial link and wildlife corridor between a chain of Protected Areas from Dholpur district in the North-East to the Kota district in the South-West. In this chain of protected areas, not only does Ranthambore have the highest bio-diversity but it is the only protected area that has large and viable populations of mega fauna.

This Project tiger reserve is also an invaluable watershed for the surrounding areas, a fact that is made more significant considering that the surrounding areas have low annual rainfall. Ranthambhore is an important catchment area for the river Chambal, which in turn, is an important river in the Gangetic system. The reserve is also the most important catchment for a large number of reservoirs that surround it. It also plays a very important role in recharging the ground water of the area. These reservoirs and the ground water are the only source of water for entire surrounding area. The river Gambhir that flows out of the Reserve is the most important source of water for the wetlands of Bharatpur district.

Sariska National Park near Alwar of Rajasthan in India

Terrain of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

The terrain of Ranthambore tiger reserve is mostly rugged and hilly and is intimately related to the Great boundary fault.

The hills to the northwest of fault-line are the Aravalis and typically have ridges on one side and gentle slope on the other. This Aravali tract is highly undulating except for a few small plateaus and some small valleys. These valleys are teeming with wildlife and are the richest wildlife areas in the entire reserve. Most of Ranthambore national park's tigers are found in these valleys. The highest point of this tract is Gazella peak, 507 meters above M.S.L. The lowest altitude of this tract is 244 meters above M.S.L. at Bodal. Streams flowing in northern tract form the catchment of the river Banas and streams flowing in southern tract drain directly in the river Chambal. Most of the streams are very short lived but the streams facing sharp ridges maybe perennial, as the folded impervious rocky strata beneath, does not permit the water to percolate.

The hills south west of Great boundary fault are the Vindhyas. The sand stone beds of these hills are flat-topped and form extensive table lands known as "Dangs". These dangs rise abruptly from flat ground and have sandstone ridges running continuously along their edges. At places, small and short-lived streams have eroded deep, long and narrow gorges that are locally known as "Khohs". The khohs are cool and retain moisture even in the hot summer and are main wild life areas in all the parts of Project tiger reserve. The Kela Devi sanctuary has some of the longest and the widest khos.

The ravines are prominent feature of both the rivers, the Chambal and the Banas. These ravines are formed due to sandy nature of the soil along the banks of the rivers. Along the Chambal, the ravines are as deep as 50 mt and extend up to 8 km in length. The ravines are very important for the lesser fauna.

Climate of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

The Ranthambhore tiger reserve, with its sub-tropical dry climate, has three very well defined seasons - summers, winters and monsoons. Summers start during the end of March and last through the months of April, May and June. During this season the days are very hot and dry. During May and June the maximum day temperature crosses 40 degrees Centigrade and the minimum night temperature still hovers around 30 degrees Centigrade. During the day, hot and dry winds blow. In the summers the dangs are almost totally devoid of wildlife during the day. Most of the ungulates and the large predators spend the summer months in the valleys and the khos. The maximum day temperature often crosses 45 degrees C in May and June, when the relative humidity is at its lowest.

The monsoons or the rainy season lasts from July to September. This season is warm and humid, with one or two short thundershowers a week. Droughts are a common occurrence in and around Ranthambore. During monsoons the dangs have good cover grasses and herbs and as a result the ungulates tend to concentrate on the dangs and the larger predators follow them there. The average annual rainfall is 800 mm and there is an average of 38 rainy days per year and nearly 90% of them are in the monsoon months.

The winter season lasts from November to February. The night temperature stays below 10 degrees Centigrade, while the day temperature hovers around the 20 degree Centigrade mark. There is often some rain and fog during the mid winters. During December and January the lowest night time temperature goes down to 2 degrees C.

Flora of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

According to the Bio-geographic classification, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve area forms a transition zone between the true desert and seasonally wet peninsular India. The Reserve comprises of shallow perennial lakes, steep hills, gentle slopes, plateaus, narrow valleys, etc. and as such a variety of plant communities or associations are found. The main floral habitats of Ranthambore can be classified as follows:-

(1) Steep slopes and cliffs: The vegetation on the steep hills is very scanty and the plants like Sterculia urens, Euphorbia neriifolia etc. are found scattered without having any significant under growths due to absence of deep soil. Out of all the different floral habitats of reserve, these are the least disturbed by human activity. This is because such habitats are the least accessible and have the lowest "harvestable resources". The annual biomass production is low in such habitats. However, they are crucial habitats for a large number of reptile and birds, particularly the endangered Long-billed vultures.

(2) Gentle slopes of hills: The gentle slopes maintain comparatively luxuriant vegetation due to better soil formation and water holding capacity. Various herbs form green carpets on the slopes, particularly during rainy season and just after the rains. The biomass production in thee habitats is very high and these are very heavily used by almost all the wildlife. Outside the Ranthambore national park, in all the parts of the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, it is in this habitat that the competition between wildlife and domesticated cattle is the highest.

(3) Plateaus: The open flat rocky areas maintain stunted and sparsely distributed trees and shrubs due to very thin layer of soil. However, the grasses, seasonal herbs and shrubs are abundant, except in the dry season. The biomass production is the plateaus or the dangs is very low and highly seasonal. During the monsoon months, there are abundant grasses and herbs in the plateaus but soon after they dry out. These habitats are heavily used by wildlife and domesticated animals during the monsoons but sparingly after that.

(4) Valleys: The valleys are characterized with fertile soil, sufficient watercourses, maximum Humidity etc. As a result, it supports comparatively thick vegetation and some Evergreen elements also do exist. The common trees found here are Anogeissus pendula (dhok), Syzygium cumini (jamun), Diospyros melanoxylon (tendu), Holoptelea integrifolia (chirail), Ficus benghalensis (bar), F. racemosa (gular), Launea coromandelica (gurjan), Butea monosperma (chila), Ziziphus mauritiana (ber), Bauhinia racemosa (sainta), Tamarindus indica (imli), Cassia fistula (amaltas), Mitragyna parvifolia (kadam) , etc. The shrubs and under shrubs further make the vegetation dense and impenetrable at certain spots. The most common of these plants are Adhatoda vasica (adusa), Caparice sepiaria. (jal) and Grewia flavescens (siyali). The valleys also have the greatest variety of climbers, herbs and grasses. The valleys have the highest biomass production of all the habitats in the reserve and should be the prime wildlife areas. However, outside the Ranthambore national park, the valleys are inhabited by human settlements and are highly disturbed for the wildlife. Inside the Ranthambhore national park, they are have the highest density of wildlife that is found in the entire reserve.

(5) Lakes, reservoirs and its surroundings: These habitats provide variable plant communities controlled by the moisture content. The low-lying areas are also inhabited by certain trees like Phoenix sylvestris (khajur), Ficus bengalensis (bar), Tamarindus indica (imli), Flacourtia indica (kakoon) etc. Most of the wetlands of the Ranthambhore, except those in the Ranthambore national park, are highly disturbed. Long periods of use by humans for cattle, irrigation, fishing etc have taken a big toll on these habitats.

(6) Sandy plain : The species like Acacia nilotica (babul), A. leucophloea (ronjh), Capparis decidua (karil), . Prosopis juliflora (vilayati babul), Calotropis procera (ankra), Argemone mexicana (satyanashi) etc. inhabit flat sandy localities - locally known as bhura - of the Reserve. These habitats are highly disturbed in the reserve. Grazing by cattle and goats have destroyed most of the ground cover and Argemone mexicana has invaded this habitat in many areas.

Anogeissus pendula (Dhok):- It is dominant species and constitutes about 80% of the vegetation cover. It represents the edaphic climax. Generally found in the hilly areas and maintains luxuriant growth on the gentle slope of the hills due to better soil formation and water holding capacity. It is a slow growing species with generally varying girth and height ranging from 10-15 meters with crown cover more than 60% found on hill slopes and valleys. The growth of Anogeissus pendula is generally stunted on plateaus where the residual soil is poor and shallow. Grewia flavescens in under-story is a common associate of Anogeissus pendula. On the remote sensing imagery, Anogiessus pendula appears in shades of dull red depending on the density.

Fauna of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

Ranthambhore's unique climatic and vegetational features have given rise to forests that are dry and open with little and stunted ground cover. This makes wildlife viewing relatively easier on the safari. There are over 320 species of birds, both resident and migratory, over 40 species of mammals and over 35 species of reptiles. Due to the dry climate there are not many species of amphibians in Ranthambore national park.

Besides tigers, the other wild cats found in Ranthambhore tiger reserve are Leopards, Caracals, Jungle cats, Rusty Spotted cats. Fishing Cats and Leopard cats have also been reported but their sightings are yet to be verified. The ungulates include Sambhar, Spotted deer (Chital), Blue bull (Nilgai), Chinkara (Indian gazelle) and Wild boar. The other large mammals that can be seen in Ranthambore tiger reserve are the Sloth bear, Indian fox, Jackal, the extremely occasional Wolf, very few Indian wild dogs (Dhole), Small Indian Civet, Palm civet, Common Indian and Ruddy mongoose and Striped Hyena.

The park also has a large number of marsh crocs Reptiles: Snub Nosed Marsh Crocodiles, Desert Monitor Lizards, Tortoise, Banded Kraits, Cobras, Common Kraits, Ganga Soft Shelled Turtles, Indian Pythons, North Indian Flap Shelled Turtles, Rat Snakes, Russel's Vipers, Saw-scaled Vipers and the Indian Chamaeleon. Human activity, such as, unplanned and illegal felling of trees, quarrying, farming and excessive grazing has greatly diminished wildlife outside the Ranthambhore project tiger reserve.

Sariska National Park near Alwar of Rajasthan in India

Common species of Ranthambhore and their preffered habitat

1. Tiger - Dense cover in the valleys and riverine areas

2. Leopard - Dense cover in the higher slopes and forest edge

3. Jungle Cat - Scrub and grasslands and undergrowth in valleys

4. Caracal - Streams, Open scrub and grasslands

5. Rusty Spotted cat - Thorny trees, scrubland and cultivated areas

6. Sambar deer - Thick cover in valleys, gentle slopes and dangs

7. Chital or Spotted deer - Open spaces and riverine areas in forests

8. Nilgai or Antelope - Open dry scrub land, grasslands and forest edge

9. Chinkara or gazelle - Open scrub and grasslands in hilly areas

10. Wild Boar - Open spaces and riverine areas in forests

11. Sloth Bear - Dense riverine areas, khos and rocky areas

12. Jackal - Open scrub and forest edges

13. Hyena - Dense cover along streams, khos & riverine areas

14. Indian Palm Civet - Large trees and undergrowth in moist areas

15. Common Mongoose - Dense cover in moist areas and forest edges

16. Ruddy Mongoose - Dense cover in moist areas and forest edges

17. Indian Porcupine - Dense cover in riverine areas and rocky hillsides

18. Indian Hare - Open scrub and grasslands

19. Indian Flying Fox - Large trees in moist, low lying areas

20. Marsh Crocodile - Wetlands

21. Bengal Monitor Lizard - Dense undergrowth, large trees and rocky areas

22. Indian Rock Python - Dense undergrowth in valleys and rocky areas

23. Saw-scaled Viper - Open scrub and sandy soil

24. Indian Rat Snake - Dense undergrowth and cultivated areas

25. Indian Bull Frog - Wetlands

26. Skittering Frog - Wetlands

27. Common Indian Toad - Cool, moist and dark areas.

Ranthambore, due to its varied terrain and abundance of water bodies, has an excellent population of birds, resident and migrant. In total, a list of 272 species has been documented. Some of the best locations to watch birds at, and from, are Malik Talao, the Ranthambore Fort, Rajbagh Talao, Padam Talao and in the Jhalra area. 

Tigers of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India
 
Ranthambore is a dry-deciduous forest, which means that there is little undergrowth and most of the trees shed their leave in the dry season. Out of all the tiger reserves in India, Ranthambhore gets the least amount of rainfall and as a result there are very few patches with tall grasses. Besides, this Project Tiger reserve has an excellent network of forest tracks.

All the above mentioned factors contribute to some great wildlife viewing, during safaris. Since there is little undergrowth and very few patches with tall and thick cover of grasses, the visibility is fantastic. The excellent network of forest tracks allows for much better tracking of animals from vehicles. Besides, most of the safari tracks in Ranthambhore, are actually heavily used animal tracks that have been widened to enable safari vehicles to drive on them. As a result, a lot of mega-fauna can be seen on or very near the forest tracks.

This is particularly true for tigers. Tigers have very soft pads under their feet, which enables them to move silently - a very important adaptation for hunting. Due to this they prefer to walk on the safari tracks, which have soft sand covering, very little thorns, rocks and dried leave. Not only is it more comfortable for them when they are walking on the tracks but the soft sand and the relative absence of twigs and leaves enables them to walk silently, without alerting their prey.

Sighting tigers in the wild is totally a matter of chance but these chances can be improved considerably. Before going in for the safari it is important to have some knowledge of movement of tigers in the park in the last few days. Almost all the local guides and drivers (who are excellent in finding tigers) have this information. They mostly get this information from their own observations in the last few days and from the observation of other guides and drivers. Once you know the movement patterns of tigers in the last few days then it is possible to predict the areas where the chances of finding tigers are better. For instance, if you know that a particular tiger has got a Sambar deer kill in a particular place, then the chances are that the tiger would be in the same area for the next 2 to 3 days.

Another sign that is worth looking out for are pugmarks of tigers. Tigers leave behind footprints or pugmarks when they walk on soft soil. In the dry and soft soil of Ranthambore these are relatively easier to find. A good tracker can roughly estimate how long ago these tracks were made. If the tracks appear to be recent or "fresh" then it is definitely worth while to follow them till where you can. Pugmarks are definitely the most important signs that show the presence of one or more tiger.

When predators like tigers move, some of the prey species of the predators, give out loud calls of alarms or "alarm calls" to warn of the other prey animals in the vicinity. The calls of Sambar deer, spotted deer, Nilgai and Langur monkeys are the loudest and most often heard. Loud and repeated calls in an area indicate to the presence of a predator in the area. It is a good idea to stop periodically, switch off the engine and wait for a few minutes to listen to alarm calls. The prey species do not always give alarm calls when they sight a predator, so the absence of alarm calls does not mean that there are no predators near by. But it does indicate that the chances of a predator being close by are low.

So when you go your tiger safari, look out for pugmarks and keep your ears open for alarm calls. This would tremendously improve your chances of finding tigers. However, you must always keep in mind that finding a tiger in the wild is still a matter of chance and that there are no guarantees of finding one.

Tiger Photography of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

Ranthambore is one of the best places in the world to photograph tigers in their wild, natural habitat. Some of the best wild tiger photos in the world have been taken in Ranthambore. It is relatively easy to find tigers in a wildlife safari in Ranthambore national park, thanks to the dry nature of the reserve. On an average a photographers should be able to get at least a few good tiger photography opportunities in a 3-4 days. A few good opportunities mean great sightings in good light for at least 15 minutes and a good photographer can get a lot done in that time.

All the wildlife pictures in Ranthambore are taken from jeeps (or Canter "safari bus") which means that one is taking wildlife pictures from a much lower angle and the end results are eye level photos, that are much more impressive. In most of the other Project Tiger reserves, the only tiger photo opportunities that one would get are from the top of an elephant, which is not only a poor angle but also a very unstable platform to shoot wildlife from.

Ranthambore has some very interesting backgrounds to offer. The forest here changes it colors in every season. It varies from lush green in October, to yellows and reds in winters (from the end of November to February), to yellows and browns in the summers (March to June). The ancient ruins that are found all over the park add to this environment.

Ranthambhore also has a lot to offer wildlife photographers, besides tigers. It is the best place in the world to take pictures of Sambar deer. One can get excellent pictures of ungulates, birds (particularly the ones that prefer drier habitats), landscapes, old monuments in the jungle etc. So when you can not find an obliging tiger to take pictures of, one can still get a lot of other very interesting subjects to shoot.

There are also some downsides of wildlife photography in Ranthambore. It is difficult to book jeeps in Ranthambore. Only a limited number of jeeps are permitted to go inside the park and since there is a huge demand for them, they get booked well in advance. The Canter "safari bus" is not so good for photography. Not only do they offer a much higher angle than jeeps, there are other people in the Canter too and they may all be moving at the same time. When you book a jeep in for safari, you are allotted a route and you have to stay on the allotted route during your jeep safari. This can be painful for photographers because it is important for them to get the right routes. You could get stuck with the wrong team of drivers and guides. There are a few excellent guides and drivers in Ranthambhore, who understand the light, angles etc. and can predict action with some degree of reliability. You could end up having a pretty lousy trip if you are not with one of them. You can easily come over these drawbacks by keeping a few things in mind. Remember to book your trip well in advance. If you do that you will end with with confirmed jeeps with good routes and look around for a good team.

Conservation at Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

The population around the Ranthambore tiger reserve is mainly agriculturist, pastoralist and labour class, dependent upon the natural resources of the reserve. The tiger reserve has some negative impacts on the population of the adjoining settlements, such as, raiding by wild animals, live stock kills etc. There is a general feeling among the people that the very existence of reserve is creating serious problems in the development of the area. Based on the above-mentioned factors, the Zone of Influence (ZI) of reserve is "tentatively" identified as an area within 10 Km radius of the legal boundaries of reserve.

There are 4 village inside the Ranthambore National Park, 15 villages inside the Kela Devi sanctuary, 4 villages inside the Sawai Mansingh sanctuary & 3 villages in Sawai Madhopur sanctuary. These villages are part of Core and Buffer zone and are situated inside the reserve boundaries.

The ZI outside the reserve maybe further divided into two parts. The first part is up to 2 km from the reserve boundary and is most important from every aspect. The forest dependency of this area is maximum and also the maximum impact of the reserve is felt by these areas. There are 112 villages in this area. This area is classified as "eco-development zone". The people living in this zone consider the reserve as their resource to use and get antagonized when they are stopped from doing so.

As we go further from the boundaries of the reserve, the dependency of the people on the reserve decreases but seasonal dependency on the reserve is still there. In the areas further than 2 Km from reserve boundaries, the negative impact of the reserve is not felt much, and as a result the antagonism toward the reserve is much less in the people of the area.

The presence of a protected area amongst them affects the lives of local people in various forms, which creates a negative impact of the reserve on the local people. An opinion has formulated amongst the people that development has stopped due to the presence of the reserve, like construction of roads, dams, and electric lines etc. which are not allowed in the reserve. No major industry is allowed to develop in the area. Crop raiding by wild ungulates and livestock lifting by carnivore has resulted in financial losses. The restriction on entry into reserve for grazing and for other needs has resulted in loss of earnings from the natural resources, and affected their life style. Local people are not allowed to visit their religious places inside the reserve by park staff.

These negative impacts of the reserve on the people, affect the very existence of the reserve and it is the management of this Zone of influence that will make or break the reserve. Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is virtually an ecological island burdened with heavy pressure of human and cattle population. The economy and livelihood of local people depend to a large extent on the resources of Reserve. The Reserve is comparatively a small area of forest; the isolated wild life population of Reserve is vulnerable from the point of availability of food & water, health and inbreeding.

Location and Transport of Ranthambore National Park of Rajasthan, India

The Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, often misspelled as Ranthambore, lies between latitudes 25 degrees 41' North to 26 degrees and 22' North and longitudes 76 degrees 16' East to 77 degrees 14' East. The Reserve lies in Rajasthan's eastern districts of Sawai Madhopur and Karauli. Chambal river lies on the eastern side of the tiger reserve, at a distance of a few kilometers and the river Banas (a tributary of Chambal) flows through the reserve, from the north-west to the south-east, dividing the project tiger reserve into two equal halves - the Kela devi Sanctuary and the other parts of the Reserve. Kela devi Sanctuary on the north-east of the river Banas, lies in the Karauli district. This wildlife sanctuary is slightly smaller than 700 square kilometers and was a part of the Karauli state before independence. The Kela devi Sanctuary along with some other smaller forests are categorized as the Buffer area of the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. The approach to Kela Devi Sanctuary is through the town of Gangapur city, on the main Delhi - Mumbai rail route, 290 kilometers South-east of Delhi. The other parts of the Reserve, including the famous Ranthambhore national park, are 640 square kilometers in area and lie to the south-west of the river Banas, almost totally in the Sawai Madhopur district. These include the Ranthambore national park, Sawai Madhopur Sanctuary, Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and the Qualji Closed area. Almost all these forests were a part of the Jaipur state of Rajasthan, before independence. The approach to this part of the Project Tiger Reserve is through the town of Sawai Madhopur, which is on the main Delhi - Mumbai rail route, at a distance of 362 kilometers from Delhi. By road, Sawai Madhopur is 440 kilometers from Delhi via Jaipur and Tonk. Even though most of the Ranthambhore tiger reserve is open to visitors, most visitors visit only the Ranthambore national park. This is because the national park is the best tiger habitat in the entire Project Tiger reserve and has some fantastic wildlife viewing to offer. All the tiger safaris in Ranthambore are conducted in the national park because this is the only part of the entire Project Tiger reserve that has a healthy and visible population of wild tigers. The other parts of the reserve are not very rich in wildlife, definitely not as rich as the Ranthambore national park.

Near by Airports - Jaipur and Kota

Distance by rail:
Delhi - 362 km, Agra - 227 km, Bombay 1027 km, Kota - 108 km, Jaipur - 132 km

Distance by road:
Delhi - 480 km (via Dausa), Jaipur - 180 km (via Tonk)

Facts of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

Safari Timing In Ranthambore National Park  
 
Timings for entry into, and exit from, the park vary according to the season. In winters, due to the shorter duration of daylight hours, the morning entry time is later and evening exit time is earlier.

Winter Timings:

Entry:
Morning Safari: 07:30 hrs
Evening Safari: 15:00 hrs

Exit:
Morning Safari: 10:30 hrs
Evening Safari: 17:30 hrs

Summer Timings:

Entry:
Morning Safari: 06:30 hrs
Evening Safari: 16:00 hrs

Exit:
Morning Safari: 09:30 hrs
Evening Safari: 18:30 hrs

Latest of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India

Between heavy rains on 29th June, Ranthambore makes into the history as the first time ever a tiger gets relocated from one forest to the other!(Ranthambore to Sariska) The tiger was especially resettled by the chopper of Indian Air Force in the noon time. According to the officials, if the weather remains assistive, Ranthambore will be soon exporting a tigress in few days time.

 

 
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