Magazine article Geographical

Paws for Thought

Magazine article Geographical

Paws for Thought

Article excerpt

Amid the crumbling walls and ruined pavilions of Ranthambhore National Park, roam 40 of India's remaining tigers. Experts believe that just over half of the world's 5,000 wild tigers live in India. But the country is thought to be losing up to 300 a year due to poaching for trade, habitat destruction and a decline in species available for prey. The World Wide Fund for Nature predicts that by 2010 there could be as few as 500 tigers left in India -- living in just 12 protected reserves.

In the early 1990s tiger numbers in the Ranthambhore National Park re critical numbers. However, the success of conservation projects in reserve has, for the time stabilised tiger numbers.

Photojournalist James Warwick explores the national park in the state of Rajasthan

a tigress takes a stroll down a park road. The greatest threat to the ecology of the park is pressure from the people and farms surrounding it. Armed guards traditionally `policed' the park to keep the locals away. However, people living close by have relied on the forests for firewood and pastureland for centuries. Conservation groups now realise that local people must be provided with an alternative source of income if they are to forfeit right to the forest's resources

Bumbu, weighing in at around 250 kg is currently the largest tiger in Ranthambhore

a tigress feeds on a domestic cow that had been part of a herd grazing illegally within the Park's `core zone'. In retaliation, on occasions herdsmen have poisoned carcasses taken by tigers

Whatever the size of their potential prey, cubs have to be taught to stalk and kill on their own. …

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