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International Tiger Day: Ranthambore and its majestic cats

Ranthambore National Park is one of the earliest tiger reserves in the country. It was established as a Game Sanctuary in 1955 and declared a tiger reserve in 1973.

It was declared a national park in 1980, and today it spans a vast area of 392 sq km.

This International Tiger Day, we bring you some interesting facts about the reserve and the best photographs of the tigers of Ranthambore.

Ranthambore today has among the highest populations of tigers. In the latest census, as of 2014, there were about 62 tigers in the park. The number had gone up from 48 in 2013. In 2005 the park had 25 tigers.

Ranthambore has escaped the fate of Sariska, the other tiger reserve in Rajasthan which notoriously lost all its tigers in 2008 due to poaching.

After this embarrassing fact came to light, the tigers brought to repopulate Sariska were also from Ranthambore.

Ranthambore has also had many famous tigers.

The latest in the list of its famous cats is T-24, Ustad. Ustad allegedly turned into a man-eater and killed four persons from nearby villages. Ranthambore has an exceptionally high density of villages in its vicinity.

The 250-kg Ustad was a dominant tiger in the sanctuary; he and his mate Noor had three cubs, one of whom is named Sultan.

But Ustad was getting older, and like all old and feeble tigers began preying on humans. He even killed an old forest guard.

Finally, the Rajasthan High Court ordered his relocation to Sajjangarh park, a zoo.

Text by Nihar Gokhale

Photo curation by Priyata Brajabasi

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