Govt concerned over rising tourist lodges around tiger reserve

NEW DELHI: To curb mushrooming tourist lodges around wildlife habitats posing threat to tiger population, Government is preparing a blue-print for promoting eco-tourism with the involvement of locals, environment minister Jairam Ramesh has said.

“The ministry is concerned with reports of mushrooming tourist lodges around tiger reserves such as in the case of Corbett National Park (UP).

“We are working on detailed guidelines for promoting eco-tourism, ie, tourism that is ecologically sustainable and is in line with the carrying capacity of the particular reserve,” Ramesh said in a statement.

He made it clear that the ministry has no plans to ban tourism in tiger reserves but wants to ensure that revenues from the sector flows back for welfare of the local community.

“Tourism is essential and that the revenues from tourism must flow back directly to the management of each of the tiger reserves so that local communities can benefit.

“The advantages of tourism should be felt by the local communities who should be encouraged to develop a stake in the protection of tiger reserves. This policy of ploughing back is already in place in most reserves and it will be in place in all Project Tiger reserves very soon,” Ramesh said.

He also said states have been advised against unregulated tourism, which is as much a threat to tiger population as poaching and poisoning is.

There are 39 tiger reserve and 663 protected areas across the country.

Four big cats have died in the past two months in Corbett Tiger Reserve due to poaching and poisoning. 16 tigers have been killed so far since January this year while 66 died last year, Forest officials said.



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