To me the proposed ban on tourism in tiger infested sanctuaries and national parks is a dangerous idea. Having said that, I agree to the fact that tourism in these areas at times has its own disadvantages owing to disturbances, littering and harassment to the denizens of the wild by the tourists, but if banned totally it will have disastrous consequences. Wildlife tourism in India is a sensitive issue as consequent governments have faced international criticism owing to the policies implemented to protect the wild tigers in India. Despite the financial aids from the national and international levels, various plans and implementation, valiant efforts of dedicated conservationist’s, wildlife enthusiasts and organizations, the tiger population has adamantly deteriorated. Here, we are searching for ways to curb poaching, minimise human animal conflict and end the gradual loss of tiger habitat, but to no avail. If tiger tourism is totally banned by the law and implemented by the government and the authorities, the decision will definitely backfire and the objective for which this decision is taken will never be achieved. In fact such a ban will dig a deeper pit and will cause the extinction of the Tiger at much faster rate than what it is today.
(a) Total ban on tiger tourism will stop the tourist access and tourism activity in the wild which will boost to the poaching activity as the poachers prefer to operate in areas where no eyes watch them. The ban will provide a much awaited opportunity to the poachers by providing them undisturbed conditions.
(b) The ban will also encourage the poachers to go in for the spoils in broad daylight adding up to the spoils that they currently accumulate in the dark hours of the night and the obvious result would be faster extinction of the tiger.
(c) Many of the tourists are wildlife enthusiasts, conservationists and activists and with no such visitors to check on the tigers, the ‘paper tiger’ ghost would again reveal itself and this will give the so called protectors of the forest an opportunity to yet again officially float wrong information as well as wrong count, as in the past.
(d) It is no secret that the honesty of the forest department officials has always been sceptical. Therefore to assume that the authorities will safeguard the tiger is like giving away the keys of the cash box to the burglar.
(e) India attracts a considerable number of its foreign tourists on the two ‘T’s, the ‘Taj Mahal’ and the ‘Tiger’. Thanks to the tiger in the wild, the Indian government extracts sizable revenue from its offshore visitors. Despite the fact that there are more tigers in the backyards kept as pets in the US than the number of tigers in the wild in India, the wildlife enthusiasts visit India to see the tiger in the wild as it pumps up the adrenalin and gives a thrilling experience like no other animal can, enticing one and all with its wild charms. Total ban tiger tourism is bound to affect the revenue generated and figure up a dent on the economy.
Yes, I do agree that certain select zones in the sanctuaries and the national parks should be totally cordoned off for the benefit of the tiger but to put a total ban on tiger tourism is a dangerous preposition.