‘Only grave of a tiger in the country with an epitaph’
Udaipur : While proposals are underway on relocation of tigers in various reserves, many few may know that the erstwhile rulers of Dungarpur state were the first on the world to have conducted Tiger re-location. It was 90 years ago in 1928 when Maharawal Laxman Singh ordered for relocation of a Tiger pair ‘Bokha’ and ‘Boki’ who were shifted from Gwalior to the wilds of Dungarpur. Those days when transportation had not been easy with limited road connectivity, the pair were transported by rail from Gwalior to Modasa in Gujarat and from there they were brought by road to Dungarpur.
“The entire tiger population of Dungarpur state was wiped out during Chhappania Akaal , a great famine during 1899-1900 AD, but few tigers remained alive in the adjoining Mewar state. To attract tigers from Mewar, baiting was started close to borders. By shifting baits deeper and deeper to the Dungerpur forests, trans border tigers were successfully pulled in” reminisces Dr Satish Kumar Sharma, a senior forest officer. Some tigers were pulled in this way from the forest of Shivpuri also. Bokha- the Gwalior tiger was very dear to the Maharawal, unfortunately, the majestic cat died due to some illness on December 16, 1934. “ By the order of the Maharawal, Bokha’s body was buried at Navlakha farm, near to the Navlakha step well. A Samadhi was constructed at the burial site and an epitaph was displayed on the grave carving the name of the tiger and date of its death, probably this being the only grave of a tiger in the country ” Sharma informed. To commemorate the event of relocation of the big cat, a trophy was also made which is showcased at the Udaivilas palace .
The forest department was constituted in 1907 AD in Dungarpur state. The wildlife protection act “ Kanoon Hifaazat Jungli Janvaran Rajya Dungarpur” came into existence on September 10, 1933 and came into practice on November 1, 1933. At that time Tiger, Leopard, Caracal, Sloth Bear, Wolf, Black Buck, Langur etc were in plenty. However, Tiger, Wild Dog, Wolf were exterminated from geographical limits of Dungarpur district. After a long gap, a male tiger had appeared on March 3, 1993, in the Garada forest block of Bharni Naaka under Seemalwada range, but it was killed by the natives, Sharma informed.