For wildlife enthusiasts, there is much reason to rejoice. Amidst the burgeoning population of big cats in the heart of Ranthambore (RTR), the Rajasthan State Forest Department has set forth a new proposal that marks a significant milestone for nature lovers and travellers. According to the new proposal, Dholpur-Karauli will be developed as the fifth tiger reserve in Rajasthan, a testament to the region's commitment to conservation. This new reserve will take India's tally of tiger reserves to 54, with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) endorsing this endeavour.
The news was first shared on the microblogging site X (formerly known as Twitter) by Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav. "Giant leap for wildlife conservation in Rajasthan. Happy to announce that the state has got yet another Tiger Reserve. The Dholpur-Karauli Tiger Reserve has been accorded the final approval by NTCA (the National Tiger Conservation Authority). Let's pledge to safeguard this precious ecosystem and its majestic tigers," the post said.
In a parallel development, the spotlight turns to Kumbhalgarh as the minister unveiled another momentous decision. "Glad to share that in-principle approval has been granted to declare Kumbhalgarh as a Tiger Reserve! This significant step towards wildlife conservation promises a brighter future for tigers and biodiversity in Rajasthan. The move will boost employment opportunities for the people of the region through ecotourism," the tweet said.
This new development complements Rajasthan's existing quartet of tiger reserves—Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Sawai Madhopur, Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar, Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve in Kota, and the recently added Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve in Bundi, a May 2022 addition to the roster.
Presently, a population of around 8-10 tigers roams the expansive Dholpur-Karauli forest. This move will foster a protected natural tiger corridor stretching from Ramgarh Vishdhari through RTR-Dholpur to Mukundra, encompassing a vast expanse of approximately 4,000 square kilometres.
These are some of the most well-known tiger reserves in India.
Blessed with hills and steep escarpments, Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh is beautiful and provides year-round water sources due to porous rocks storing monsoon rains. This abundance of water is ideal for tigers and other wildlife. Though high visitor numbers have somewhat habituated the tigers to jeeps and disturbance, the 105 km prime range of sal forest and grassland around Tala Village offers excellent opportunities for sightings.
Best time to visit: The autumn and winter months between October and March are ideal for visiting the national park.
At nearly 3,30,000 acres, Ranthambore National Park is one of northern India's largest national parks. The park is home to 81 Bengal tigers as of 2021 and is known for its historical significance as a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur. With ancient temples, mosques, and a 10th-century fort scattered throughout the park, it intertwines culture and history with its diverse ecosystem.
Best time to visit: For the best tiger-spotting chances, visit during February and March for pleasant weather or in April and May when tigers frequent popular watering holes.
Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand holds significant historical importance as the site where Project Tiger was officially launched. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, it still boasts one of India's major tiger populations. While the limited network of forest tracks might make sightings less frequent, the park's varied landscape is a paradise for birdwatching and offers chances to encounter Indian elephants.
Best time to visit: December to March is the perfect time to visit the national park as the temperature slides down, making it pleasant and cool to spot the wildlife residing there. Your chances of spotting a Royal Bengal Tiger are considerably higher during winter mornings.