In a magnificent stride towards wildlife conservation and environmental tourism, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) has recently rejuvenated its Tiger Safari, a much-anticipated move after a hiatus of five years. This revival not only marks a significant moment in the park's history but also paves the way for upcoming ventures into Lion and Leopard Safaris.
Sudhir Mungantiwar, the State Forest Minister, inaugurated the rejuvenated Tiger Safari at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) this Wednesday. The safari, which spans 20 hectares and had been inaccessible for five years following damage to its perimeter in 2016, is now fully operational. Reportedly, INR 5.5 crore renovation has enhanced the facility with new enclosures, a crawl space, and both primary and secondary safari areas. The tiger zone is home to seven tigers, including five females and two males, offering them a habitat closely resembling their natural environment. Initially opened in 1998, the park is now fully accessible to visitors.
Additionally, in response to the growing number of leopards found orphaned, captured in urban settings, or identified as maneaters, there's a proposal underway for a 20-hectare Leopard Safari, aiming to replicate the success of the Tiger Safari.
Reviving the Tiger Safari – A symbol of conservation triumph
In a recent update, the State Forest Minister announced the addition of six 30-seater electric vehicles at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) for safaris and tours to the Kanheri Caves, starting from the main gate. These vehicles, along with five buggies, were donated by the National High-Speed Rail Corporation as compensation for using parts of Tungareshwar forest and SGNP for bullet train development. Additionally, nine more buses are expected to join the fleet soon.
SGNP is also enhancing its lion safari, currently housing one male and one female lion. The Central Zoo Authority of India has urged the expansion of this safari from 12 to 20 hectares to comply with their standards. In line with this, the State Forest Department is acquiring another pair of lions from Gujarat to enrich the safari experience.
Beyond Tigers — Expanding to Lion and Leopard Safaris
Looking ahead, SGNP is not resting on its laurels with the reintroduction of the Tiger Safari alone. Plans are afoot to expand its wildlife safari experiences to include Lions and Leopards. These additions promise to enhance the park's allure, offering a diverse array of wildlife encounters to enthusiasts. The Lion Safari will be a nod to the regal beasts predominantly found in the Gir Forests, while the Leopard Safari will showcase another of India’s elusive and elegant predators.