Invisible tigers

Project Tiger used the traditional method of checking pug marks to identify and monitor tiger numbers within their parks. The basic weakness in the counting of individuals became glaringly obvious when, in May 2004, researchers from the Wildlife institute of India were unable to find a single recent footprint from any of the reported 18 tigers that should have been in Sariska. The Sariska Management, the state government and Project Tiger were quick to counter the claims that all the tigers had gone, but evidence was mounting that Sariska concealed a catastrophe. The Government, in the shape of Project Tiger continued to deny that poaching offered a real threat. On paper, at least 16 invisible tigers roamed the park, but by January 2005 the newspapers were reporting the story, and in February the Government finally admitted that the tigers in Sariska had gone extinct. A premiere tiger reserve a few hours drive from Delhi, one hour from Rajisthan's capital where, according to Valmik Thapar, many of the 300 forest staff were old, half retired, untrained and unfit were unable to stop poachers from coming in and lifting every single tiger in the park.

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2 minutes


Role Contributor
NarratorDavid Attenborough
ProducerMike Birkhead
Editor-in-chiefTim Martin

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