SC Verdict On Lifting Ban Likely To Attract More Tiger Tourists During Festive Season

Jaipur: It could not have been better than this. With festive season around, it was a gift of sorts for many a tourist in the state as the Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted the ban on tiger tourism in reserves across the country. The court has now allowed tourism in 20% of the core area of tiger reserves.

Rajasthan was the worst hit after the ban was imposed on tourism in the core areas of tiger reserves. The two reserves in the state -- Ranthambhore National Park and the Sariska National Park -- normally open for tourists from October 1. However, due to the ban this year, the parks had to remain closed, turning away many as the tourist zones in these parks lie mostly in core areas. Now, both will open on Wednesday.

Jaipur: The ambitious but controversial tiger relocation programme at Sariska Tiger Reserve is set to enter the next phase with the introduction of two female and a male tiger in the park before the end of winter.

This will take the tiger count to 10 at Sariska. The forest department is gung ho about the plan, more so after the sighting of the first cubs recently.
Everybody, though, doesn’t share forest department’s enthusiasm regarding the project. The debate on if Sariska is safe for tigers is on with conservationists raising concern over poaching still being a big threat.

Jaipur: With the Sariska tiger translocation project bearing fruit in the form of two cubs, the stage is set for Sariska to get three more tigers. In fact, the second phase of the translocation will see the forest department trying to introduce fresh blood into the 866 sq km forest.

“Plans have been finalized for the shifting of three big cats to Sariska. One of the tigress will be from Ranthambore and two more (one male and one female) will be relocated from outside the state. It could either be from Madhya Pradesh or Maharashtra and we are talking to both the states,” says V S Singh, additional chief secretary, environment and forest, government of Rajasthan.

Parks Were To Be Opened On Mon, Forest Dept Move Comes In View Of SC Postponing Decision

Jaipur: Tourism in the Ranthambore and Sariska tiger reserves will have to wait a while longer. The Supreme Court on Thursday postponed to October 3 its decision on the ban on tourism in the core areas of tiger reserves. Consequently, the state forest department also notified on its official website for tiger safari reservation that the park, which was supposed to open on October 1, will remain closed till October 3.

JAIPUR: Officials, wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists are waiting with bated breath for Thursday's Supreme Court verdict on tourism in the core of areas of wildlife sanctuaries. With just three days to go for the Ranthambore and Sariska national parks to re-open (October 1), this would chart the way for the two thriving tiger reserves in the state.

The Centre on Wednesday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court requesting that the ban on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves be lifted. In the affidavit, the Centre has outlined the revised guidelines to protect the tiger population and requested the court to permit tourism activities in 20% of the core tiger habitat.

1,706 tigers today, up from 1,411 in 2007

Should the approximately 1,700 tigers left in India be treated as sacrosanct, not to be exploited by India’s tourism industry? Or, should they be looked at as valuable commodities, responsible for filling the coffers of the state? This is the firestorm of a debate that Ajay Dubey sparked off, when he, through a public interest litigation filed in the Madhya Pradesh High Court in September 2010, asked that tourism be banned in ‘core’ tiger areas — zones where tiger density is particularly high — in line with the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and its 2006 amendment.

Jaipur: Conservation with people's participation seems to be the salient feature of the eco-tourism guidelines released by the state government on Thursday. From seeking their help in the actual implementation of the guidelines to involving them with conservation work, the guidelines have paved way for community participation in a variety of ways.

As a first step, the guidelines seek the involvement of honourary wildlife wardens wildlife experts, NGOs and other independent stakeholders for assisting the Tiger Conservation Foundation and the forest department for the implementation of these guidelines in tiger reserves.

Jaipur: A day after the Supreme Court invited suggestions and objections for framing guidelines for conservation of tigers, Rajasthan on Thursday came up with its own guidelines, the first state to do so.

The guidelines, to be submitted to the court as an affidavit by Friday, seeks to promote tourism but disperses it over a wider area than just confine to the national park only. It also seeks to promote eco-tourism in lesser known areas, non-forest areas and even on private lands adjoining tiger reserves by developing them into alternative wildlife land use options. Currently tourism in the state has been confined to areas of government ownership and is managed solely by the forest department.

JAIPUR: The ghost of the Sariska shame have been exorcised. A newborn cub hold much promise, at least momentarily, to erase all the shame that the Sariska tiger reserve brought to the nation after all its tigers were found to have been poached in 2005.

But with the celebrations, conservationist and wildlife lovers feel it is also a time to tread with caution. About 10 to 12 days back, a forester, Ram Prasad was beaten up by villagers at a place in the Sariska reserve that forms a part of the territory tigress ST-2.

More tigers are being introduced in Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan’s Alwar district this monsoon under the recovery plan of the tiger habitat which lost all its big cats to alleged poaching some time in 2004-5. Most of the six tigers reintroduced in the past four years, starting with the first male tiger in June-July 2008, were released during this season.

And if Sariska needs more tigers, where would the Rajasthan authorities look for other than the Ranthambhore National Park, which at present has an actively breeding cat population? All the tigers in Sariska are from Ranthambhore though there is a proposal to get one or two from the forests of neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.