Tiger and a plastic bottle, Bandipur

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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 like feeding monkeys, getting close to already agitated elephants, honking and, not the least, speeding.

Hoever, what disturbed me most was this plastic … Read More

Tourists Gone Wild

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This was photographed in November 2010 in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve of Karnataka. It is evident that the mother elephant is completely agitated and trying to protect her calf. In spite of the efforts of the forest department in educating tourists and operators about maintaining a distance of at least 200m from wild animals, many violate these rules and approach animals closely, and provoke them at close range, seeking dangerous thrills. … Read More

Precious Wayanad in Peril

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Wayanad is home to Edakkal Caves, a group of ancient, natural caves, with stone age carvings believed to be around 8000 years old. Located amidst the precious Western Ghats, the huge rocky hills near Edakkal now face the threat of several illegal quarries that blast the hills off to feed the market for sand and gravel. Uncontrolled tourism is also adding to the environmental degradation. Tourists who come from every part of the country litter plastic bags and beer bottles, … Read More

Stopping ‘Eco-Resorts’ In Their Tracks

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May 30, 2012: Based on a complaint filed by wildlife conservation NGOs, the Deputy Commissioner of Chikmagalur district in Karnataka cancelled the permission given to Satori Eco Adventure Resorts Pvt Ltd. for constructing resorts on Chandradrona hill in the Western Ghats. This cancellation is a significant milestone in the persistent battle by local conservation groups, WildCAT C and Bhadra Wildlife Conservation Trust, to halt commercial resorts in this tiger corridor connecting Bhadra Tiger reserve with adjoining forests.

Importance of the Read More

A Tiger in the Drawing Room — Can Luxury Tourism Benefit Wildlife?

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With decisions like the Supreme Court’s interim order banning tourism inside tiger sanctuaries becoming inevitable in the face of increasing political and executive resistance to expansion of protected nature reserves on public land, the issue of tiger tourism calls for a pragmatic approach that can resolve contradictions between the burgeoning tourism demand and the tiger’s shrinking habitats.

Wildlife biologists K Ullas Karanth & Krithi K Karanth propose a “Tiger Habitat Expansion Model”, based on a shared profit motive between private … Read More

The Tourist Isn’t An Endangered Animal

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Tourism can increase its natural capital by converting farms to wildlife viewing land, with shared profits.

The media splash—exemplified by a hyper-ventilating Guardian report following the Supreme Court’s July 2012 interim order suspending tourism in some tiger reserves—has convinced the public that all wildlife tourism activity in India stands permanently abolished. Following the August 22 ruling on a review petition by the SC, in which it extended its ban on tourism in the ‘core areas’ of tiger reserves, people might … Read More

Bonnet Macaque With Liquor Bottle

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We saw this scene en route to Valparai in Tamil Nadu. This Bonnet Macaque had caught hold of a bottle of White Mischief Vodka, and was trying to open it. We don’t know if the sun was playing tricks, but the bottle did seem to have some liquid remaining. We hope the monkey failed in his endeavor. Tourists often visit hill stations such as Valparai with the aim of having a ‘good time’. Valparai is a hotbed of bio-diversity and … Read More

Tourism Ban in Tiger Reserves – Some Points to Ponder

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Conservation India received this letter from Joanna Van Gruisen on July 29th 2012. Joanna has lived in the subcontinent for nearly 35 years. She has filmed, photographed, written and been an advocate for wildlife throughout this time. Two years ago she and conservation biologist, Dr Raghu Chundawat, began a small, earth-friendly lodge in Madhya Pradesh, designed as an alternative place to stay for tourists visiting Khajuraho. It also lies close to the Panna Tiger Reserve.

Regulation and bans are two … Read More

Nilgai in Tadoba Fed by Humans

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There is a Nilgai on the banks of the Tadoba Lake in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, which has been relocated from a zoo. The Nilgai is obviously used to human presence and humans feeding it. Hence the scene shown in the picture. Animals in forests may behave in various ways due to various reasons. The onus is actually on us to refrain from interacting with them in irresponsible and dangerous ways.… Read More

Resort Vehicles and Responsibility

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I witnessed this at Kabini in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, where a canter van belonging to Jungle Lodges and Resorts was stopped extremely close to a wild tusker. When we approached the scene, the van was parked on the safari track with the tusker close to it on the left. The tusker then moved slightly towards the van (may be a metre or so) and then stopped, but the van remained in its position. Only when there were signs of a … Read More

Road Rash in Tadoba

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The car pictured here was being driven rashly in Tadoba on 30th March 2012. We had stopped for some spotted deer to cross the road, but the car in the picture did not. It overtook our stationary jeep and scared the deer in the process. It could have caused a road kill too.

Editor’s note: Also read Private Vehicles – Bane of Wildlife Tourism?

 … Read More

Chitals Chewing Plastic and Paper, Bandipur

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This is an image from Bandipur. After a fine morning drive, having sighted a leopard in all its glory, the constituents of our vehicle were beaming with happines. However, the drive back to the resort brought everyone back to reality. Very close to the checkpost of Bandipur National Park, we saw tourists proceeding towards Ooty, feeding bread and jam to a herd of Chital. It has to be noted that of late, drivers and naturalists of Jungle Lodges and Rests … Read More

Private Vehicles – Bane of Wildlife Tourism?

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Screeching tyres, engines revving noisily, exhausts spewing black smoke, horns blaring, cars cutting in front of each other, people shouting and even the odd bang or two. Sounds like normal urban India? Think again, this is a scene from a safari in the heart of a tiger reserve in Maharashtra!

Some tiger reserves allow private vehicles (albeit with a forest guide) for safaris. The drivers have no sensibilities on how to drive in a forest (we barely have any road … Read More