Mukundara National Park
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A new haven for tigers
After Ranthambore and Sariska, Rajasthan may get a third tiger reserve. The Mukundara Hills National Park has been in the works since 2003, but was notified only in 2013, shortly before Vasundhara Raje became chief minister. Now she has asked the finance and forest and wildlife departments to prepare the budget and modalities of resettling 1,600 families in forest land outside Kota. It will take Rs 160 crore and the consent of the families for that to happen. No easy task, as Sariska has shown.
Some 780 sq km in area, the Mukundara Hills National Park is spread across Rajasthan's Kota, Bundi, Chittorgarh and Jhalawar districts, and comprises the Durrah, Jawaharsagar and Chambal sanctuaries. The CM is encouraged by Sariska's success, where eight big cats from Ranthambore were successfully translocated after poachers had wiped out the original population. Ranthambore itself is under pressure, as instead of the normal one-third male population, its 55-60 tigers have an equal ratio of male to female tigers, leading to fierce territorial conflicts, and tigers straying into village areas. Should Mukundara be declared a tiger reserve, it can take 12 animals, easing some of the pressure.