Alwar: The tigers have brought tourists back to Sariska. The tiger reserve in Rajasthan, which had lost its sheen after its tigers went missing, opened to a great response from wildlife enthusiasts and holiday makers this year, thanks to five big cats relocated here.
The Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar district, which opened to the public Oct 1, earned over Rs 300,000 from the sale of entry tickets in the first two days alone, according to official figures.
The Sariska reserve, some 110 km from state capital Jaipur, opens to the public Oct 1 through to June 30 every year. It is closed during the monsoon months.
While Indians are charged Rs 60 as entry fee, foreigners pay Rs 450. As many as 7,000 people visited the park on Saturday, a day when entry is free for Alwar residents.
The reserve on Sunday attracted 1,200 wildlife enthusiasts, forest officials said.
"We are really happy that Sariska has once again started to attract tourists," a senior forest official said.
A report by the Wildlife Institute of India in March 2005 confirmed that there were indeed no tigers left in Sariska Tiger Reserve, and found poaching to be one of the main reasons for this.
Facing flak from different quarters, the Rajasthan government decided to relocate tigers from Ranthambore National Park in Sawai Madhopur district to Sariska. And from 2008 till now, five tigers -- two males and three females -- have been relocated to the reserve.
The Sariska Tiger Reserve, originally a hunting preserve of the erstwhile Alwar state, was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955. Spread across 866 sq km, it was declared a tiger reserve in 1978.
Some of the other wildlife found in the reserve include leopards, jungle cats, hyenas, jackals, chitals, sambars, langurs, wild boars, four-horned deer and several species of birds.