The death of at least 10 panthers in Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary over last six months has again raised the problem of scarce water in Rajasthan’s wildlife parks and sanctuaries.
Rajasthan is one of the few states that can boast of two tiger projects, a bird sanctuary and 25 wildlife sanctuaries.
These protected areas offer great eco-tourism opportunities for both domestic and foreign tourists.
“It is a shame the wildlife animals are dying due to water scarcity. Though forest officials try to cover up, saying water scarcity did not cause loss of animals, our information prove majority of the deaths are because of that,” Babulal Jaju, state in charge of People for Animals (PFA) said.
Though the forest department claims to have put a plan in place for water supply through tankers and tube wells, animal rights activists are not fully convinced.
“Some of the wildlife reserves and parks, including Kumbhalgarh, are really facing acute water shortage this summer,” said Jaju.
He said the measures adopted by the state government are few.
With temperatures soaring, several small water reservoirs have become parched while others are on the brink of drying up.
“The animals need water not only for drinking but also for playing and bathing. The state government should have tried to make arrangements earlier and in a much better way, so these wild animals do not suffer,” he said.
“Wild animals, including panthers, have started to come near our villages in search of water”, Ramkishore, a resident of a village close to Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, said.
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary extends across the Aravalli Range, covering parts of Rajsamand, Udaipur and Pali districts. It is 578 km in area and home to large variety of wild life, including panthers, leopards, wolf, bear, hyena and chinkara, among others.