February 2005

After the Operation Co-operation came to a premature end, all of us got pretty frustrated. I got back to my work, which is running a safari lodge an since February is a very busy month; I did not have time for any further activism. Dharmendra and Vakil (the Tiger watch team) took to some serious activism. They started getting in touch with the local and national media and started highlighting the plight of Ranthambhore in the media. The disappearance of tigers from Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan was still fresh news and the media really took the Rajasthan Forest department apart. I had no role to play in all of this, though many people in the Rajasthan Forest Department still believe that I was instrumental in spreading “ false stories” about Ranthambhore in the media. Some of them along with the local police and administration were gunning for us but they did not get their chance till almost a year later.

The media lapped up all the news about Ranthambhore and published them after “spicing” them up a bit. The Rajasthan Forest Department had to bear the brunt of the media onslaught. The international media picked some of this news up and that added to the fire.

Ranthambore tiger

Tiger Watch put together a small project for gathering information on poaching around Ranthambhore and started looking for funding for the project. About a month later they got the funds though Fateh Singh’s son’s Non Governmental Agency and they started collecting information from around Ranthambhore.

In the first week of February I left for Bharatpur (Keola Deo Ghana Bird Sanctuary) for a week. By that time I was getting pretty fed up with all the politics that went with tiger conservation.