Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

Ranthambore Tiger Reserve lies in the eastern part of Rajasthan state in Karauli and Sawai Madhopur districts, at the junction of the Aravali and the Vindhya hill ranges. It comprises of the Ranthambore National Park as well as Sawai Mansingh and Keladevi Sanctuaries, each with varied conservation history. Geographically, narrow corridors link the two sanctuaries to the reserve’s core– the National Park. This isolated area with tigers in it represents the north-western limit of the Bengal tiger’s distribution range and is an outstanding example of Project Tiger’s efforts for conservation in the country. 

Flora and fauna:

The vegetation includes grasslands on plateaus and dense forests along the seasonal streams. The forest type is mainly tropical dry deciduous with ‘dhak’ (Butea monsoperma), a species of tree capable of withstanding long periods of drought, being the commonest. This tree is also called as 'Flame of forest' and is one of the many flowering plants that add colour to the dry summers here. Many Banyan trees dot the hree big lakes Padam Talav, Mallik Talav and Raj Bagh. With the undulating terrain as well as ruined palaces forming the back drop, the scenery here is picturesque.

The park is rich in wildlife with tiger at the apex of the food chain in mammals. The park is also home to a good population of leopards. Other animals found here are striped hyenas, common or Hanuman langurs, rhesus macaques, jackals, jungle cats, caracals, blackbuck, Blacknaped hare and chinkara, to name a few. The prey base is represented by chital, sambar, nilgai and wild boar. Sloth bear is also found here. The park is rich in birds with about 272 species recorded so far.
© Ameen Ahmed/WWF-India
A pair of Sandgrouse
© Ameen Ahmed/WWF-India
© Diwakar Sharma/WWF-India
Ranthambore represents the north-western limit of the Bengal Tiger
© Diwakar Sharma/WWF-India

History and current status:

The forests around the Ranthambore fort were once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Their desire to preserve the game in these forests for sport was largely responsible for their conservation until the launch of Project Tiger. These were brought under the national project and declared a tiger reserve along with eight other sanctuaries and national parks in 1973. In 1980, 274.50 sq. km of the forest here was notified as Ranthambhore National Park. In 1992, the Tiger Reserve was expanded to include the adjoining Keladevi Sanctuary in the north and Sawai Mansingh sanctuary to the south along with other forests *. Today it covers an area of 1334 sq. km.

The Ranthambhore fort, from which the forests derive their name, is said to have a rich history of over 1000 years. It is strategically located atop a 700 feet tall hill within the park and is believed to have been built in 944 AD by a Chauhan ruler.

This is among the most visited tiger reserves in India and contributes heavily to the local economy.
* Source: Project Tiger, Govt of India and Rajasthan Forest Department 
© Lima Rosalind/WWF-India
WWF-India is encouraging self-help groups like the above one of Faloudi village in Sawai Madhopur District.
© Lima Rosalind/WWF-India
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