Scientific Research

Tiger Watch Ranthambhore has kept up its long-standing commitment to scientific research. Tiger Watch has been involved in the exploration of biodiversity and research projects on foxes, wolves, reptiles, local flora and wildlife corridors to the neighbouring districts. Due to a vast knowledge base of locally occurring wildlife and an unmatched extensive local network. researchers from all over the country collaborate with Tiger Watch for field assistance, while the Village Wildlife Volunteer program which generates valuable data on a daily basis has supplemented small projects conducted by Tiger Watch volunteers and MSc student interns looking to write their dissertations. Over and above this, expeditions investigating the presence and status of endangered species like the Gharial and the Indian Wolf, have been conducted by engaging volunteers from all over the country.

Some significant outcomes of our research-oriented projects are as follows:

 

Ecosystem service enhancement for the alleviation of wildlife-human conflicts in the Aravalli Hills, Rajasthan (2016)

Conflict between people and ecosystem capacity is a global problem, and achievement of wildlife-human co-existence a strategic global need. Apex predators suffer disproportionately, including conflicts with human activities. Recovery of formerly declining predator populations, particularly India’s Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), increases potential human conflict. Habitat conversion for arable production and proliferation of non-native tree species increases likelihood of conflict between wildlife, people and stock in villages in the Amlidha buffer zone between core areas of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. Arresting and reversing landscape conversion in targeted zones can reduce potential wildlife-human conflict by regenerating ecosystem capacity, enabling coexistence of a ‘green corridor’ for terrestrial wildlife migration, a ‘blue corridor’ for movement of riverine wildlife, and sustainable human livelihoods. This can be achieved through informed and consensual community-based zoning of land uses, management of non-native species and regeneration of local water resources. Conversely, continuing habitat simplification will decrease ecosystem vitality and services, increasing wildlife-human conflict and insecurities. Transition to multifunctional ecosystem management doesn’t require wholesale change; elective, consensual adjustments can enhance socio-ecological security. Initiatives by the NGO Tiger Watch involving village people, whose willing engagement is essential for sustainable management, support potential achievement of simultaneous wildlife conservation and human benefits.

Historical and current extent of occurrence of the Caracal Caracal caracal (Schreber, 1776) (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) in India

This reseach focuses on the historical and current extent of occurrence of the Caracal Caracal Caracal in India between 1616 and April 2020. We collated 134 reports during this period. Historically, the Caracal was reported in 13 Indian states in nine out of 26 biotic provinces. Since 2001, the Caracal’s presence has been reported in only three states and four biotic provinces, with only two possible viable populations. Before 1947, the Caracal was reported from an area of 793,927km2. Between 1948 and 2000, the Caracal’s reported extent of occurrence in India decreased by 47.99%. From 2001 to 2020, the reported extent of occurrence further decreased by 95.95%, with current presence restricted to 16,709km2, less than 5% of the Caracal’s reported extent of occurrence in the 1948–2000 period.

The Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus (I. Geoffroy Saint-Hillaire, 1831) (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) in Rajasthan, India – a compilation of two decades

In Rajasthan, the presence of the Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus was first reported in 1994 in Udaipur District, the southernmost district of Rajasthan. Since then, it was also recorded in four more districts scattered over an area of about 86,205km2. We compiled information about the occurrence of the Rusty-spotted Cat in Rajasthan based on direct sightings, road kills, rescued kittens, and camera trap images. Our data set shows that the Rusty-spotted Cat is also present in eight more districts of Rajasthan that form part of the Aravalli Hills and Vindhyan Hills in the semi-arid zone of eastern Rajasthan. The area encompassed by these records amounts to 71,586km2. Kittens were rescued in six instances. Adult cats were recorded in 45 instances including 41 live cats and four roadkills. Ten adult live Rusty-spotted Cats were sighted in the mornings, and 31 were recorded after dark between late evenings and early mornings. They were recorded in eight habitat types including foremost thorny and dry deciduous forests, but also ravines and agricultural fields adjacent to forests, and in forest patches in the vicinity of human settlements. The preservation of forests is of utmost importance for the long-term viability of the Rusty-spotted Cat. We strongly recommend surveys outside protected areas to determine the connectivity between Rusty-spotted Cat population units in Rajasthan.

Challenges Presented by Pilgrimage Sites and their Impact on Ecology of Protected Areas(2018-2020)

A Case Study of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan

The traditional pilgrimages to religious sites are evolving into large scale religious tourism in many protected areas across India. A growing influx of visitors leading to infrastructural development of these sites within protected areas has potential to immensely damage the natural ecological balance. There are significant changes in the scale and frequency of visits to religious sites over past few decades creating an undue anthropogenic pressure on the ecology of protected areas. The present study tried to estimate the impact of religious tourism on the local ecology inside Ranthambhore Tiger reserve (RTR), India. This study was conducted by Ms. Meenu Dhakad, Dr Dharmendra Khandal, Dr. Dhanashree A. Pranjpe, Mr. Ishan Dhar, Mr, Mukesh saini and Mr. Y.K. Sahu

Funded by the Ranthambhore Tiger Conservation Foundation

Wolf Research Project (2018-19)

The project titled: “Assessing the ecological status of Indian Grey Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) with the focus on anthropological interactions in Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary” was a six month long project where we tried to estimate the habitat-use by the Indian grey wolf and their density. The project was conducted by Mr. Prashant Mahajan, M.Sc. 

Funded by the Forest Department, Ranthambhore

Gharial Survey (2015-17)

A rigorous 3 yr long exploration resulted in the discovery of the presence of breeding gharials in the Parvati river, a tributary of the Chambal flowing on the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh border. Gharials (Gavialis gangeticus), found in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, have been classified as ‘critically endangered’ by IUCN. The study was conducted by Dharmendra Khandal, Meenu Dhakad, Mr. Suyash Katdare. Dr. W.C. Lang and the report was published in the IUCN’s journal in January 2017. Surveys were conducted between 2015 and 2017 on the three tributaries of the Chambal – Pravati, Kali Sindh and Banas — to assess the presence of gharials and mugger marsh crocodiles. 

Funded by: Tiger Watch Ranthambhore

Socio-Economic Survey of Traditional Hunting Tribes in & around Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary. (2019)

The Mogyas (also called Bawariyas) are a semi-nomadic community in Rajasthan. They traverse a large area covering the districts of Sawai Madhopur, Tonk, Kota, Bundi, Karauli, Dausa, Jaipur, Alwar, Dholpur and Seopur (MP). According to the National commission the Mogya community is a de-notified and nomadic tribe. The main objective of the study is to assess their socio-economic status and the location of this tribe in the Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary. In the present study, a total of 43 villages were identified which have Mogya settlements. Out of which 22 villages have non-resident individuals while the settlements in the remaining 21 villages have permanent residents. The study documented population size, average family size, sex ratio, child marriage status, literacy rate, sanitation facilities status, child mortality rate and socio-economic status of the community. The study was conducted by Ms. Meenu Dhakad and Mr. Ishan Dhar.

Funded by: the Forest Department, Ranthambhore

Ecosystem services of Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary (2018-19)

The term ‘ecosystem services’ encompasses diverse material and non-material goods and services beneficial to human beings that are provided by ecosystems. This study attempts to produce quantitative and qualitative estimates of the multiple values provided by the natural capital of the Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS).
An evaluation of ecosystem services is emerging as an important policy-support tool for decision-makers. It serves this purpose in three principal ways. Firstly, a recognition of ecosystem services with some indication of their significance raises awareness about the crucial role of natural ecosystems in supporting human wellbeing. Secondly, an evaluation of services helps focus resource use to inform better management of ecosystems. Thirdly, ecosystem services evaluation provides a rational economic basis for the protection of or more sustainable management of natural systems. Though globally relevant and of his priority to underpin sustainable development, these roles of ecosystem service valuation are particularly pertinent for rapidly developing countries like India where forests could be easily be traded-off for short-term non–forestry uses. The project was conducted by Mr. Vishal Rasal, M. Sc.

Funded by: The Forest Department, Ranthambhore

Assessment of Anthropogenic Pressure in Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary (2018-19)

This report presents information on the various kinds of anthropogenic pressure on the Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS). The study, conducted in association with the Ranthambhore Tiger Conservation Fund (RTCF), was focused on understanding the amount of pressure and impact on the forest. These surveys were for taking account of the pressure and impact on wildlife. This study was conducted by Ms. Meenu Dhakad, M.Sc. and Mr. Vishal Rashal, M.Sc.

Funded by: The Forest Department, Ranthambhore

Wildlife Corridor (2012-13)

This was a study on the wildlife corridor between Ranthambhore National Park (RNP) and the Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary; Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve and Ramgarh Bishdahri Wildlife Sanctuary. This study revealed a promising corridor between these protected areas. Furthermore, the forest department acted on the basis of this report and started the relocation of villages from this corridor area. This relocation will secure important wildlife corridors, which will safeguard the future of the animals in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. Conducted by Ms. Ovee Thorat and Mr. Suyash Katdare

Funded by: Tiger Watch Ranthambhore

Gharial Research (2008-10)

This Gharial Expedition was carried out in 2008 and twice in 2009 by three different teams. These expeditions were to survey and assess the current status of the Gharial in 100 km of the National Chambal Sanctuary. The findings of this survey, resulted in a publication in an international journal. The then chairman of Tiger Watch, the Late Shri. John Singh, donated his land along the banks of the Chambal River, to start a Gharial Conservancy. The current Chairman of Tiger Watch, Mr. Iskander Laljee, bought more land, along the river to provide further protection to the Gharials.

Funded by: WWF- India, and Mr . Gaurav Kataria

Wetland Conservation Plan Kalisil Dam, Karauli Rajasthan (2017):

Kalisil is a significant freshwater dam situated 30km away from Karauli city, district headquarters of Karauli, Rajasthan. In this study, we prepared remote-sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) based decadal maps of the Kalisil Dam along with a 5 km buffer zone of impact around the wetland. We simultaneously carried out the water quality analysis of Kalisil dam. Biodiversity assessment of the wetland and the surrounding areas were carried out in terms of vegetation and ornithological studies. Socio-economic surveys and capacity building workshop were conducted with the local communities living in the buffer zone of one kilometer from the periphery of the wetland. Project conducted by Mr. Kashish Madan, Mr. Rajnikant Verma and Ms. Meenu Dhakad. 

Funded by: The Forest Department, Karauli

 

Wetland Conservation plan Guda Dam, Bundi Rajasthan (2017)

Guda is a freshwater dam situated 60 km away from Sawai Madhopur city, the headquarters of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve of Rajasthan. In this study, we prepared remote-sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) based decadal maps of the Guda Dam along with a 5 km buffer zone of impact around the wetland. We simultaneously carried out a water quality analysis of Guda dam. A Biodiversity assessment of the wetland and the surrounding areas was carried out in terms of vegetation and ornithological studies. Socio-economic surveys and capacity building workshops were conducted with the local communities living in the 1 km buffer zone from the periphery of the wetland. This project was conducted by Ms. Meenu Dhakad, Madan, Mr. Rajnikant Verma and Mr. Kashish Madan.

Funded by: The Forest Department Ranthambhore

Wetland Conservation plan Kaylana-Takhat Sagar Lake, Jodhpur Rajasthan (2017)

Kaylana is an artificial freshwater lake situated on the outskirt of the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan and spread over 84km2 area. In this study, we had prepared remote-sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) based decadal maps of Kaylana lake along with a 5 km buffer zone of impact around the wetland. We simultaneously carried out a water quality analysis of Kaylana lake. Biodiversity assessment of the wetland and the surrounding areas were carried out in terms of vegetation and ornithological studies. Socio-economic surveys and capacity building workshop were also conducted with the local communities living near wetland. This project was executed by Mr. Rajnikant Verma, Mr. Kashish Madan and Ms. Meenu Dhakad.

Funded by: The Forest Department, Jodhpur.

Viability and Sustainability of Successful Post relocation Settlement & Livelihood:

There were four villages (Kathuli, Padra, Mordungri and Kalibhat) which were relocated from Ranthambhore National Park. The aim of the study was to do a comparative analysis of the Pre and post-relocation situations of the relocated families. The survey emphasised changes in livelihood and standard of living of families before and after relocation. The project is executed by Ms. Meenu Dhakad and Mr. Ishan Dhar.

Funded by the Forest Department ,Ranthambhore

Wolf Research(2013)

A survey was carried out to study the presence of Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) around the Ranthambhore National Park. The survey conducted was in the ravine areas around the National Park and revealed a healthy wolf population in the region. The land was owned by the Government and to help this cause, the then collector of Sawai Madhopur Mr. Giriraj Singh Kushwaha legally changed the status of these lands to pasture lands. This status, now, prevents the lands from being sold off and has helped in securing a vital habitat for the wolves. This study was conducted by Ms. Pooja Rathore, Mr. Nimesh Ved and Mr. Trishant Simley.

Funded by: Tiger Watch- Ranthambhore.

Ecological Impact of Religious Sites in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve (2018-19)

The Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve has many religious sites inside the tiger reserve which attract a large number of pilgrims throughout the year. The study documented the total number of religious sites, the number of pilgrims visiting these sites and their impact on the ecology and wildlife. The study also recommended management guidelines to the Forest Authority. This study was conducted by Ms. Meenu Dhakad.

The project is funded by RTCF- Forest Department

Assessment of Impact on Ecology due to the distribution of LPG (2015)

A impact assessment for the forest department: 26,000 LPG connections were provided over the last decade in the vicinity of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve on subsidised rates to reduce deforestation and the negative impact on the ecosystem caused by the use of fire wood. However, a greater concern was whether the rural population, around Ranthambhore, will switch to this newer source of fuel? The apprehension was obvious since the availability of wood was very easy and suited their traditional rural lifestyle. The Forest Department appointed Tiger Watch, as an independent agency to asses and evaluate the project. The socio -economic study revealed important touch points like LPG use patterns by income, education, land holding capacity, livestock keeping, demographic use pattern, distance with the LPG cylinder providers (gas agency) etc. The report submitted by a team of 8 different researchers, revealed some huge irregularities in the distribution of the LPG connections, and the data will also prove helpful in the future for implementation of such socio-economic projects. The project was conducted by Ms. Kanchan Soni, M.Sc. and Mr. Rajanikant Verma, M.Sc.

Funded by: the Forest Department, Ranthambhore

Dairy Development project

Tiger Watch carried out a detailed study on livestock economics and practices in and around the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. This included a Socio-Economic Survey of Veterinary Doctors, villagers, cooperative dairies, research scientists, dairy expert and government officials. The Socio-Economic survey included grazing patterns, feed and fodder, vaccinations and diseases, breeds and artificial insemination, local and outstation cooperative dairies as well as a workshop for villagers. The reports include details on the economics of cows, buffalos and goats and the dependency on the tiger reserve, livestock density in and around the tiger reserve, livestock diseases and their effects on wildlife, the status of cooperative diaries around the tiger reserve, Government schemes and state veterinary institutions around the tiger reservation, best feeds and fodder, the benefits of artificial insemination, the perspective of villagers and recommendations. This project was conducted by Mr. Ankit Toshniwal, MA (TISS).

Funded by: the Forest Department Ranthambhore

Address: Maa Farm,
Ranthambhore Road, Post Khilchipur,
District Sawai Madhopur,
322 001, Rajasthan,
INDIA

(+91) 90015 07777