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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tiger Tourism Beginning of the end

The bleak future unfolds as closure of tourism in tiger reserves appears imminent. There is hope that some space will be given but this is merely a conjecture. Tourism in buffer is just a joy ride in case of most of the reserves. The buffer zone suffers from intrusion and lot of other disturbance, secondly the ecosystem at most of the places is not intact. These factors do not contribute to stable wild populations. Certain endangered and niche dwellers are confined to the core zone.     

Hence tourist interested in wildlife watching will diminish and they will not arrive here. The park (Read Buffer) would be visited by holiday makers interested more in revelry than anything else.   

The major impact will be on forest guides and drivers apart from closure of most of the hotels. The wide scale unemployment will result in lots of frustration. These are the people with excellent knowledge of the whole forests, animal movements and behavior. They will be easy target for the vicious network of poachers. If tourism is practically closed then adverse means of income could be sought by many. The only answer  that seems plausible is a hefty compensation or large scale induction in the department in case of those who are in temporary status or not in the muster roll at all.         

The loss of income to the administration would mean less conservation and management efforts. Another loss would be that of awareness that was regularly created. Status maintenance would suffer or would be restricted to the department.The valuable contribution of amateur and professional wildlife photographers and observers would be practically negligible. I believe the access to core zone will remain open to the privileged dignitaries.            

With full respect to Hon. Supreme Courts Ruling time will tell the impact of the changing paradigm.