Saving the Jungle Saving Dudhwa

Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is unique among wild places of India in that it retains the feel of the jungle.

Dudhwa is located in the Terai belt of Uttar Pradesh state. Terai is a very long but narrow belt of marshy grasslands and forests located just south and parallel to the Himalayan foothills.

Historically, Dudhwa was famous for finest quality teak and sal forest, and herds of more than 1500 golden swamp deer. It was also notorious for its lawlessnes and endemic malaria which helped conserve these forests by keeping out enterprising farmers. .

Dudhwa was also the home of the 'Living Legend' Billy Arjan Singh. He introduced zoo born Tara the Tigeress, Prince, Harriett and Juliett - the 3 Leopards into Dudhwa. These top predators learned to hunt, mated and successfully lived in the wild inspite of several tragedies and setbacks.

Conservation threats

  • Poaching by poachers from across the border with Nepal
  • Understaffed forest department distracted with managing tourism and govt officials
  • Silting of rivers in the Tiger Reserve has caused waterlogging in grasslands and rivers such as the Neora Nala have stopped flowing
  • Railway line through the middle of the forest disturbs wildlife
  • People enter the forest to collect firewood which disturbs wildlife

The success story

There is more wildlife at the fringes of the forest than inside! This is because there are fields with nutritious crops for the herbivores at the edge of the forest. Grazing animals raid the fields leading to human-animal conflict. The people are fairly tolerant and live with the losses becuase they see the benefits of wildlife and understand it is illegal to harm wildlife.

A Rhino re-introduction project has seen rhino population increase from 7 to 30+.

Inspite of the population pressure, fragmentation and poaching, there are still Tigers, Elephants and enough herbivores. There is a rich variety of birdlife.

On the banks of the Naukhowa river, groups of 18 crocodiles laze in the sun while troops of Rhesus Monkeys play in the trees overhead.

And the descendents of Tara the Tigress, and Prince the leopard still prowl the forests of Dudhwa.