Mar 16

Tourism & Tigers: a WIN WIN situation for all

Seizure of 05 tiger skins coupled with untimely strike by the field staff of the forest dept. has forced people like us to check the permits and let the visitors in, as we do not want tourism to suffer at any cost and the state to suffer its reputation. The district administration and the top forest authorities do not want both conservation and tourism to suffer but the field staff stuck to their demands. The second step in the next 48 hours is to guard and patrol the forests by all the tourism stakeholders whether guides, hoteliers, travel agents, naturalists or even those who are dependent on tourism. Tiger first! A real test for true & pseudo conservationists! The tragedy is that all these tigers have been killed from the areas with absolutely no tourists around. My statement here stands true that tourism protects the tigers and no tourism areas make them vulnerable to poaching, as there are people dependent on dead tigers, may be minuscule in numbers but take away the bread & butter of large section of the environmentally aware society in specific & humanity in general.
It is high time for the people as well as the Govt of Uttarakhand to maintain the reputation of harbouring the second largest tiger population besides promoting wildlife tourism while taking some drastic measures for the situations not to repeat.
Khanan or mining has always belittled the values of the forest staff but there have been no shutdowns of khanan gates while the gates for wildlife tourism have remained the softest targets. You know WHY? The priorities change with the resource. Again khanan can be quantified while wildlife tourism & conservation remain abstract.

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