Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve
Written By अनुभा जैन, लेखिका पत्रकार on Tuesday, January 21,2022
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Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve is a third big cat habitat after Ranthambore and Sariska Tiger Reserves in Rajasthan. Merely 50 km away from Kota, Mukundara Hills or Darrah Tiger Reserve is situated between two corresponding mountains in Rajasthan, viz., Mukundara and Gagrola which run across a length of about 80 km. from Murlipura to Rawatbhata. It lies along the southeastern border of Kota, Rajasthan. Along the boundaries of the valley four rivers namely Ramzan, Ahu, Kali, and Chambal flow. In the local Rajasthani language, Darrah means “pass” as this place served as a pass during the wars by Maratha, Rajput, and British.
According to a Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF), Wildlife, Mukundara tiger reserve, "Presently there is only one tigress in the jungle. And this last tigress was discovered with some injury and for her safety, she was translocated to a biological park for treatment. She was put back in Mukundra after laser therapy. She is the last tiger of Mukundara. When asked the reason why only one tiger is left and no more tigers are coming to the park, the forest official replied that as National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is not giving clearance or permission so tigers have stopped coming into the reserve."
DCF further stated that the Tiger Reserve is spread across districts like Kota, Bundi, Chittorgarh, and Jhalawar and covers an area of 759.99 square km (293.43 sq mi) of the Hadoti Region in Rajasthan with 16 villages located on its periphery. Out of them, 14 have been selected for relocation. The area has been divided into 417 sq. km. as core area and 342.82 sq. km. been preserved as a buffer zone. The core is noted as a critical area and buffer is a peripheral area to foster co-existence with local people while ensuring the protection of the National Park.
Mukundara Hills National Park received the first tiger from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. In July and August 2020, a male and female tiger were discovered dead. Later, the other male tiger died. The cause behind the death of these tigers is still not known. In 2017 the department started reintroduction of tigers in Mukundhara Hills Tiger Reserve from Ranthambore.
It is pertinent to mention that in 1955 Darrah was declared a wildlife sanctuary (Protected area). Mukundara Hills National Park was established in 2004 and consists of three wildlife sanctuaries: Darrah Wildlife Sanctuary, National Chambal Sanctuary, and Jawahar Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary. In 2013 the National Park got approval from NTCA and was declared as Tiger Reserve. The reserve covers the area of Mukundara Hills National Park, Darrah Sanctuary, Jawahar Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, and part of National Chambal Ghariyal Sanctuary (from Garadia Mahadev to Jawahar Sagar Dam) which constitutes the core area of MHTR.
The national park contains large tracts of forests formerly part of the Maharaja of Kota's hunting grounds. It is located in the Khathiar-Gir dry deciduous forests. Mukandara Hills Tiger Reserve has two corridors from Ranthambore, one through Indergarh-Lakheri-Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary-Dabi-Jawahar Sagar Sanctuary and the second one through the canyons of Chambal and Kalisindh to Dara.
Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve is mountainous and has a variety of plants, trees, and animals. It has grasslands in between and also many dry deciduous trees. Bengal Tiger, leopard, wolf, chital, sambar deer, wild boar, nilgai, sloth bear, chinkara, Mugger crocodile, and the gharial are inhabitants commonly seen here.