Saturday, August 11, 2012

Banning tiger tourism in india

Tiger tourism or wildlife tourism in India.
India is home for the tiger,The big majestic cats are symbols of power, freedom and sheer beauty. As we turn the pages of history we learn about a lot of  animal and human conflict from tiger's being hunted by the royalty for their honor and prestige to the the local folk killing the big cats to save their livelihood.
India still after a lot of destruction by human behavior holds ground for the tiger. Though plenty of green corridors across states and boundaries through out the country the big cat population has shrunken to fractions and the count is falling by the day.
Tiger reserves across the country have messy calculations with some reserves admitting the failure of saving the tiger.
Initiatives taken by the government of India to protect the tiger have fallen to the deaf ear. Rules are made by the ministry which struggles a bit and then looses hope.
Tribal hamlets have been in the reserves since centuries, their generations have passed and ended in the wilderness. Knowing the pulse of the jungles from animal behavioral patterns to the good and bad of what mother nature has to offer. These tribes have blended with the eco - system and nature patterns. Though the government has created many benefits for their well being , not many benefits have reached them and hence they are left with not many options but to fall in the line of poachers and wood smugglers,helping them out for a share of quick money.
The forest rangers and guards know the animal behavior and their movement patterns, they have marked the animal movement corridors but are struggling with encroachment around the reserves and into the animal movement corridor.
These encroachments often happen when land is allotted to the tribals from shifting them to outer areas or be villagers as their farm lands by local political support. Local politics or state politics have in some way played an indirect role in disturbing the eco-balance either by leasing land for mining or by construction of dams.
The cat and mouse chase between the forest department and the tribal folk continues as the the tribes viewing them as someone who would relocate them from where they have lived for centuries and the department tightening them from all the illegal activities they do or support.
Debates across the country for saving the tiger, discussions held in the ministry by ministers who have power of the seat than knowledge of the wild is doing no good to the big cat or any benefit on ground.
Need of the hour is to promote quality eco -tourism ,promoting eco-lodges around the reserves would act as awareness institutions and create major employment for the tribals . It would make the urban population understand the negative impact of urbanization and teach them the sustainability of eco friendly earth materials. These eco-friendly resorts would act as a catalyst between the forest departments and the tribes making work in the reserves more like a link and chain.
The benefit of direct employment to the tribal folk at the resort such as guides and staff would help the resorts to learn from their centuries old experience of animal behavior and highlight it more to spread more awareness across the country and the employment of tribes would help them not to fall in the line of illegal poachers and wood smugglers. Relocating them will not be necessary as they would act as self sufficient guards who would guard the reserves for their own bread and butter.
Forming a link between the forest department, local tribal folk and the eco -tourist resorts would be the only solution to save the tiger.
Eco-tourism has to be promoted and picnic tourism has to be banned in the reserves. Tribals, forest departments and the eco friendly resorts have to be linked for a joint effort.
Unless the ministry does this I don't see India saving the Tiger anymore.

Syed Muhammed Najmuddin,

S. M. A. Hotels pvt ltd
Hyderabad AP

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