Jaipur: A massive fire broke out in Rajasthan’s Sariska Tiger Reserve yesterday, has spread over 10 sqkm, the size of some 1,800 football fields,, officials said. Two Indian Air Force Choppers are dropping water over the affected area, they said.
The fire has created a big threat over the territory of a tigress, codenamed ST-17, which is at that area with her two cubs, the officials said. Experts have said that they might suffocate.
In the Sariska reserve, there are 20 tigers.
Firefighters are yet to bring the situation under control. From Rajasthan’s Siliserh Lake, the two IAF choppers are scooping up water and are pouring over the fire affected area, in Sariska, 43 km from the lake.
Three villages near the tiger reserve have been alerted, as the fire didn’t went down over past 24 hours.
The IAF in a statement has said that they have sent two Mi-17 V5 helicopters after the Alwar district administration sent an SOS to help control the fire “which had spread over large areas in Sariska.”
“The IAF has deployed two Mi-17 V5 helicopters for Bambi bucket ops. The operations are ongoing,” it said, referring to the collapsible bucket suspended from a helicopter performing firefighting operations and used for lifting and dumping water or fire-retardant chemicals.
India is home to 75 percent of the world’s tiger population.
The forest is home to numerous carnivores including leopards, wild dogs, jungle cats, hyenas and jackals.
Every four years, India checks its tiger population count. The country’s tiger conservation body in December last year said that 126 tigers died in 2021. This is the highest death count since it began compiling data a decade ago.