New Tourism zone at Ranthambhore
Zone 10 is finally a reality now. Located in Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, this zone would be known as Aantri. Starting from Hallonda this zone would cover areas like the Hallonda guard post, Baas khori, Aantri and would end at Devpura Dam covering a stretch of approximately 20 km.
The entry point for this zone would be Hallonda on Kushalipura-Bodal Road. In order to promote tourism in this zone forest department is allowing visitors to take guides & gypsy drivers of their choice. Safari timings & guidelines are the same as applicable in other tourism zones.
This area is an active territory of T43 male, T13 with her 3 new cubs, sub adult cub of T13 from the previous litter, T42 male & maybe some other tigers. Also, the place has a good potential leopard habitat. Did visit this zone during the monsoon of 2012 as a part of an anti-grazing team & was surely impressed by the terrain. The Forest Department has built a couple of water check dams in order to ensure a year-round supply of water. The prey base looked decent & has the potential to be a good birding spot as well.
Think it is a fantastic move which will not only help in tackling ever-increasing tourism pressure at Ranthambhore but also means sources of employment for locals living around this area. Apart from all, it will result in better monitoring of this patch of forest which otherwise gets overshadowed by neighbouring RNP.
Looking forward to my first safari in this zone soon.