After being severely criticized for the disappearances of tigers from the Sariska Reserve, the Rajasthan government has started relocating villages that fall inside the Sariska reserve to pave way for the re-entry of the big cats. This is a tacit admission that the presence of villagers inside the reserve was affecting the livelihood of tigers and it also contrary to the Federal Government’s move to grant forest land to the tribals thereby guaranteeing their stay in the forests.
The state forest ministry said that initially 15 villages with 150 families in the reserve will be moved and this will stem most of the poaching. The families will be rehabilitated in a 22,267 hectare space in Barod Rundh near Behror in Alwar district through the help of non-government organizations (NGO). The displaced families will be given 2 hectares each and Rs. 1 lakh (USD 2000) including training by NGOs to adopt a different livelihood. The monies for this effort come from a Sariska recovery plan funded by the Federal government.
After the villagers are cleared out, the Forest Department will introduce a tiger couple and later by another three. Equipped with radio collars, the tigers will be monitored.
The Wildlife Institute of India contradicted a government report in March 2005 that there are no tigers left in this reserve because of poaching. The government had claimed that there were 16 to 18 tigers in the reserve that covers 881 square kilometers. It also houses leopards, jungle cats, hyenas, jackals, sambars, spotted deer, blue bulls, and wild boar.