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Tiger Experts Against Ban On Wildlife Tourism
November 07, 2011
Tiger Experts Against Ban On Wildlife Tourism


07 November 2011

New Delhi:
Terming as “irrational” the demand for ban on wildlife tourism in critical tiger habitats, experts and conservations today batted for promoting “intelligent tourism” in such areas.

Raising their voice against a PIL filed in the Supreme Court, Travel Operators for Tigers India Wildlife Association (TOFT India) and several noted tiger specialists decried the move as “irrational, hugely dangerous, and not based on sound scientific evidence or proof on the ground.”

The petition seeking ban on tourism in the reserves in Madhya Pradesh was filed by a Bhopal-based environment NGO, Prayatna.
Ms Belinda Wright, well known head of Tiger intelligence charity, Wildlife Protection Society of India, said she recognises the need for well-managed wildlife tourism. “Guides, naturalists and many lodge owners are often the best eyes and ears of a park, and many a time we have heard intelligence about illegal activities coming from them before the authorities,”          Ms Wright, whose family is one of the original lodge owners in Kanha, said.

She pointed out that it was independent researchers, guides and lodge owners who invited the attention of world to Panna, which lost all its tigers by 2008. “Wildlife tourists, who carry camera's not axes, do not poach, do not graze cattle, do not submerge forests with dams, do not gouge out holes for mining, clear fell trees for roads or industrial parks is being unjustifiably blamed for killing tigers,” claimed Mr Vishal Singh, head of TOFT in India.

Mr Valmik Thapar said intelligent tourism plays a critical role in protecting wilderness and all its endangered species.
“After spending 35 years working with tigers, wildlife and tourism and writing 21 books including two on African Wildlife I am certain that intelligent tourism plays a critical role in protecting the wilderness and all its endangered species and this both in core and outer buffer areas,” he said.