Tiger tourism brings smiles to dependent families in Uttarakhand

Corbett Tiger Reserve Uttarakhand
Corbett Tiger Reserve Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun: Though the recent lifting of the ban on tourists in the 41 tiger reserves of the country by the Supreme Court may not have gone well with a section of the tiger conservationists, but it has generally brought smiles on the face of over 15,000 families involved with tiger tourism in the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand.

There were fears that these families may have to look for other alternatives in search of a livelihood, if the temporary ban imposed by the Supreme Court was made permanent, and they did not have much hope but eke a living as daily wagers. However, now almost all of them are thankful to apex court in general and their stars in particular for the turn around.

Heads of a number of these families work as guides in the Park area, and though it is rumored and there are allegations that knowing the habitat well, also where the tigers are visible during a particular time, are also the key informers of poachers, it is now being felt that the Park authorities will also keep severe tabs on them.

Sources in the park here said that on an average over 2.5 lakh tourists visit Park and besides the hotels and resorts in the periphery of the Park area and some in the buffer zone, they are known to be the main source of earnings for the guides and others in the hospitality industry. The guides and the resorts too, would have been rather adversely affected if the ban had persisted.

They said that tiger tourism in Corbett also has its fall out in the tourism industry in Nainital and other small townships, as most of the tourists also go to them for sightseeing and spending some time. Tourism to these lake cities would also have been adversely affecte3d had the apex court banned the core and buffer areas of the tiger reserves to tourists.

Sources said that what had come as a bigger relief to the Corbett National Park authorities is the fact that the apex court had permitted tiger tourism in only 20 per cent of the tiger reserves, but in Corbett the authorities have only been allowing the tourists in 12.1 per cent of the Park area, because of the maximum density of felines that the Park has.

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A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish had worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.

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