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Monsoon Update

The monsoon season has finally arrived in Ranthambhore after a month-long delay. Last year, heavy rain in June forced the park authorities to shut down the park. This year, however, the rain gods have been kind, and most of the lakes and water bodies are full, ensuring a supply of water to the animals during the peak summer months. The forest has turned green with the otherwise dry deciduous forest looking like a tropical rainforest. The streams and nallahs inside the park are overflowing due to the heavy rain. 

Although the monsoon season rejuvenates the forest, it poses a tough challenge for the park authorities. Most of the forest tracks become inaccessible for vehicles, and the thick grass cover reduces visibility, increasing the risk of being bitten by snakes, scorpions, and other poisonous insects. The risk multiplies manifold with the movement of big cats towards the periphery in search of easy prey, resulting in conflicts. Villagers enter the forest with their domestic cattle for grazing, and poachers take advantage of the situation. The men on the ground have a tough task ahead of them, with a lack of basic tools like raincoats, gumboots, approachable medical facilities, and irregular supplies of ration. Although proactive park managers ensure some of these necessities are taken care of, lack of funds and willingness remains a challenge. 

Forest guards have to patrol their areas on foot, braving all the odds. They have to track the tigers in their assigned area, negotiate dense bushes, walk through water streams, and climb hills following tracks as most of the animals move uphill. There is always constant pressure to sight animals, especially tigers, to ensure their safety from dangers, both known and unknown.
 
The situation in Ranthambhore seems to be under control, with the exception of the incident of Jhumroo aka T20 entering Mae Kallan village and injuring two people. Cobra patrolling teams continue to patrol the porous park boundaries at night to reduce the risk of poachers entering the forest while the park administration, including top officials like DCF (core), lead long foot patrols during the day to keep vigil. Tigers seem to be doing fine, with Machli enjoying her share of royalty in the form of bait. T24 has been making his presence felt every now and then with sightings on fort road and his loud roars close to some human settlements. T17 is preferring higher areas of her territory to ensure the safety of her cubs. T39, one of the most beautiful cats, is occasionally seen patrolling and familiarizing her only cub with her vast territory. T19 and her cubs continue to roam around their vast territory. 

With only a few days left before the scheduled opening date, and some ray of hope coming out of the last court hearing on the tourism ban, there is hope to do the first safari on October 1st.

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