The population around the Ranthambhore tiger reserve is mainly agriculturist, pastoralist and labour class, dependent upon the natural resources of the reserve. The tiger reserve has some negative impacts on the population of the adjoining settlements, such as, raiding by wild animals, live stock kills etc.. There is a general feeling among the people that the very existence of reserve is creating serious problems in the development of the area. Based on the above-mentioned factors, the Zone of Influence (ZI) of reserve is "tentatively" identified as an area within 10 Kms radius of the legal boundaries of reserve.
There are 4 village inside the Ranthambore National Park, 15 villages inside the Kela Devi sanctuary, 4 villages inside the Sawai Mansingh sanctuary & 3 villages in Sawai Madhopur sanctuary. These villages are part of Core and Buffer zone and are situated inside the reserve boundaries.
The ZI outside the reserve maybe further divided into two parts. The first part is up to 2 kms. from the reserve boundary and is most important from every aspect. The forest dependency of this area is maximum and maximum impact of the reserve is felt by these areas. There are 112 villages in this area. This area is classified as "eco-development zone". The people living in this zone consider the reserve as their resource to use and get antagonized when they are stopped from doing so.
As we go further from the boundaries of the reserve, the dependency of the people on the reserve decreases but seasonal dependency on the reserve is still there. In the areas further than 2 Kms from reserve boundaries, the negative impact of the reserve is not felt much, and as a result the antagonism toward the reserve is much less in the people of the area.
The presence of a protected area amongst them affects the lives of local people in various forms, which creates a negative impact of the reserve on the local people. The main issues are: -
An opinion among the people that development has stopped due to the presence of the reserve, like construction of roads, dams, electric lines etc. which are not allowed in the reserve. No major industry is allowed to develop in the area. Crop raiding by wild ungulates and livestock lifting by carnivore has resulted in financial losses. The restriction on entry into reserve for grazing and for other needs has resulted in loss of earnings from the natural resources, and affected their life style. Local people are not allowed to visit their religious places inside the reserve by park staff.
These negative impacts of the reserve on the people, affect the very existence of the reserve and it is the management of this Zone of influence that will make or break the reserve.
Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is virtually an ecological island burdened with heavy pressure of human and cattle population. The economy and livelihood of local people depend to a large extent on the resources of Reserve. The Reserve is comparatively a small area of forest; the isolated wild life population of Reserve is vulnerable from the point of availability of food & water, health and inbreeding. The major threats to wild life can be considered as under :
Deterioration of Eco-system in Buffer areas
The Reserve is a small area which is under tremendous pressure from all directions. The main cause of deterioration is grazing of live stock in buffer zone as well as in some areas of core zone. The number of grazing cattle is very high and as a result the buffer areas of Ranthambore National Park and Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary are fast reaching to a point of total degradation.