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Ranthambore Conservation History

Ranthambore National Park derives its name from the fort that stands in the middle of the forests. The fort gets its name from two hills - Thanbhor, on which the fort is built, and Ran, which is a hill on the backside of the fort. Before independence, Ranthambore was the Hunting Reserve of the Maharajas of Jaipur and hunting continued till 1970 (even after being declared a sanctuary). Hunting was banned only in 1970.

1955 - Declared as Sawai Madhopur Wildlife Sanctuary.

1960 - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England and H.R.H Duke of Edinburgh visited Ranthambore as guests of the Maharaja of Jaipur on a royal hunt.

1973 - When Project Tiger was launched on April 1,1973, nine tiger reserves were initially chosen - Ranthambore was one of them.

1981 - Ranthambore was awarded National Park status.

1981-1990/91 - With Ranthambore becoming a National Park, villages were relocated outside the park. A profound change gradually started taking place. The tiger population started increasing and because of the protection under Project Tiger, a new generation of tigers were being born to mothers who had never known man's aggression. They were no longer avoiding man.

This was the golden period of Ranthambore when it had tigers and tigresses that were stars with the regular visitors. They had regal names like Genghis, Kublai, Akbar, Laxmi (named after the Goddess of Wealth), Noon, Noor Jahan...One could go on.

1989 - The census revealed 44 tigers, up from 14 when it was brought under Project Tiger.

1992 - Tiger census showed a dramatic drop in tiger population. The census revealed 15-20 tigers. The census at Ranthambore revealed that India was now going through a second tiger crisis. Project Tiger was paying the price for its success - earlier tigers were legally hunted for their skins till hunting was banned in 1970. This census revealed that they were now being poached for their bones for the Far East market.

2002/03 - Tiger population was again up because of strict protection given after the census revelation of 1991-92.

2005 - The population has plummetted from 47 to 26. Census conducted in May reveals that 21 tigers are missing and are presumed to be poached. India going through a Third Tiger Crisis.