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Tiger relocation to continue says minister

The environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, visited the Sariska reserve after the death of a translocated male tiger. During the visit, he announced a grant of 30 crores for the reserve in the current fiscal year and reviewed the State Government's efforts to protect tigers. Ramesh stated that there was a "strong possibility" that the tiger's death was due to poisoning, but the relocation programme would continue. Another male tiger from Ranthambore would be brought to Sariska within two weeks, while a committee would investigate the death of the relocated tiger. The 30-crore grant would be allocated to relocate villages from the park area and establish eco-development committees to ensure the participation of local communities in the reserve's management. 
 
Experts criticized the relocation programme and the tiger's death, with concerns about the effectiveness of radio collars and the mining lobby's interest in the park's fringes. Additionally, many villages within the park area need immediate relocation, as they occupy forest land and their cattle often come within the reach of tigers. No record is maintained of the loss borne by the villagers due to the killings by tigers, and no compensation is paid. The influx of pilgrims in Pandupole inside the tiger reserve and the two major national highways running through the reserve continue to be a major source of disturbance to the wildlife. 
 
Former field director Sariska and environmentalist, Fateh Singh Rathore, cautioned that it is vital to examine and rectify all factors that led to the complete extinction of all tigers from the reserve in 2004 before any future translocation. Meanwhile, tiger expert Belinda Wright expressed concern about the efficacy and efficiency of radio collars, stating that GPS collars were not being used, and VHF collars were "largely effective" in plain lands. The Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India confirmed that all collars are tested before being strapped to the tiger.

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