The Ban on Tiger Tourism in India Will it benefit the tigers or not
“Tiger, tiger burning bright” wrote William Blake in his notable poem “The Tiger” that has been memorized and recited by school-children for centuries. It is the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sundarbans which has embodied independent India’s elegance and courage. The golden pages of Indian history and mythology narrate tales of powerful kings who had fascination in tigers. In recent times, the tiger population of our country is in danger due to rampant poaching and illegal hunting. The state government, it seems, have been lending a deaf ear to the Centre’s plea to curb the poachers.
This negligence of the state governments has probably compelled the Hon’ble Supreme Court to undertake the harsh ruling. The Supreme Court of India has banned the tourists from visiting “Core Tiger Areas” in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. This decision of the Supreme Court might awaken the regional governments from their slumber and they might take some measures to prevent killing of tigers in their respective provinces But the act of preventing wildlife-enthusiasts from savoring the view of tigers seems like a folly in this land where tigers have always been epitomized with royalty. India is a country which holds half of the tiger population in the world. Imagine a Sawai Madhopur which is not reverberating with tourists eagerly waiting to behold the regal animal in Ranthambore National Park! What about a Kumaon valley which is not visited by wildlife photographers aspiring to get a click of the Bengal tiger in Corbett National Park!
A ban on tiger tourism would hardly benefit the tiger population of this country. In fact, this ban would make the so-called “Core Tiger Areas” isolated from public attention. This would expose these areas to poachers. Facts have proved that the increase in tiger population is directly dependent on the number of tourists visiting these tiger reserves. The tiger census published by National Tiger Conservation Authority (formerly Project Tiger) in March 2011 clearly confirms that the tiger density is highest in Corbett, Kaziranga and Bandhavgarh National Parks which also happen to be the most visited parks. On the contrary, many tiger sanctuaries which have been devoid of tourist attention have faced a decline in the tiger population. The tigers in these neglected sanctuaries have succumbed to poaching, negligence and clearing of forests for agricultural purposes. In this regard, mention can be made about the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan which was being neglected by tourists in the past few years due to various reasons. Finally, after years of negligence by tourists and the government, it was confirmed in January 2005 that there were no tigers left in the Sariska Tiger Reserve. Many other tiger sanctuaries might meet with the same fate if they are not allowed to promote tourism. The Government of India, would be itself responsible for the declining population of this animal which has flourished in this country for so long.
Now this is the most common reason being bandied about by everybody who wants to left the ban on tourism. Not many have seen this supreme court order in its real light. The state governments have to declare buffer and core zones, clearly demarcate tourism areas and ensure tourism related side effects like garbage, over crowding, unscientific tracking of tigers for guaranteed sightings, etc dont affect the core areas. The demarcation of core and buffer zones will ensure a slow but steady regrowth of forest in the buffer zone.This ban will also help turning the spotlight on other “wildlife” like birds, small mammals, etc. During one of the safaris, this white breasted kingfisher
was offering a a lovely photo op but everybody was busy shooting the tiger
which wasnt in the right position for a good shot
Meanwhile during this ban, as most resorts have been offering good discounts, real nature lovers have been silently making trips to various places which are outside the core one for enjoying nature at its best. Without any crowds, observing other / real wildlife.
Take this rare opportunity to enjoy nature and wildlife