I saw this young tigress in Bandipur with a plastic bottle near its feet.
In spite of a nighttime traffic closure (see CI casestudy), the Ooty-Mysore highway (NH 67) through Bandipur Tiger Reserve causes serious disturbances to wildlife. Tourists and passersby are always stopping by the road to look at wild animals or disturbing them by feeding monkeys, getting close to already agitated elephants, honking, and, not the least, speeding.
However, what disturbed me most was this plastic bottle deep inside the forest on one of our Bandipur safaris with a tigress standing next to it. Seeing the bottle raised a lot of questions:
- How can the forest department be more strict in preventing garbage, especially plastic, from entering the reserve?
- How can tourists become more disciplined when visiting forests?
- Are our national parks becoming extensions of zoos where people picnic?
- Is this kind of wildlife tourism going to help in any way to the wildlife, the locals, or the forest department?