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Friday, October 24, 2008

Festival Time at Tiger Parks

Festival times at Indian tiger reserves is an event of mad rush. The National Parks in India are subject to traffic beyond carrying capacity. All over there is a hustling bustling crowd of tourists and tourist mongers. Service providers and seekers. The poor animals suffer!

This is a perfect example of lack of foresight. Number of times forest officials and perhaps tourism managers have been advised to open up infrastructure in other wildlife places. This will, apart from bringing cost down for ecotourism, reduce pressure on major tiger reserves as Kanha National Park in Central India, Pench reserve, Corbett and Bandhavgarh National Park the most popular. Incidentally this is an earning time for wildlife resorts in National Parks. But than this is not responsible tourism.

Good thing that has happened is that number of entries into the park have been restricted in Central Indian National Parks. Similarly other keystone species should be highlight to take pressures off tiger parks. Few good examples are wild elephant safari at Corbett and Rhino tours at Kaziranga National Park in Assam state of India. Lion safari at Gir National Park should be promoted more. The list is endless. Even for birding there are lot other birding spots that need promotion. I have been to Nalsarovar and Thol at Gujarat near Ahmedabad they are prime birding areas but lack development.

There are lot of wildlife sanctuaries that can attract a large number of tourists - even those who cannot afford to visit major reserves due to high travel cost. This will benefit the locals in terms of employment and strengthen conservation effort.

The best that most wildlife sanctuaries in India offer are a rest house for accommodation which is not readily available to general public. The road and tourism infrastructure is in a mess here and organized wildlife safari is impossible here. These places offer good wildlife viewing and may harbor rare exotic wildlife. Tourism here will help in conservation as well as exploration of the forests.

Some ignored parks and sanctuaries are:

Sanjay National Park

Nauradehi Sanctuary

Bori Sanctuary

Satpura National Park

All in Madhya Pradesh

Achanakmar Sanctuary Chhattisgarh

Indravati National Park in Chhattisgarh.

and many many more in India where tourism can be developed.