First off I wanted to share some Tiger facts before we got down to business about the Tiger tourism ban. Tigers can reach up to 11ft and are the heaviest cats in the wild weighing up to 660lbs!!! Three of the nine subspecies of the modern tiger are now extinct and the remaining six are all classified as endangered species. India is home to approximately half of the world’s tiger population, with an estimated 1,700 in the country. The current range of the tiger is only 7% of what it used to be, which brings us into our discussion about the Tiger tourism ban.
On July 24, the Supreme Court banned tourists from the core areas of parks where tigers are believed to breed and hunt. They passed an interim order disallowing tourism to Tiger reserves until another direction to further question the manner in which the country protected areas are identified, designated and governed. All of the 41 tiger sanctuaries in the country, cited the danger posed to the Tiger by tourist traffic in parts of the reserves. There's no debate about the impact that humans have put on wildlife all over the world and the fact that much of the tourism industry hasn't done their part to offset their impact on the environment and wildlife. But luckily for now they've reached an agreement, India’s Supreme Court lifted the ban on tourism in the core areas of the country’s Tiger reserves and asked state governments to draw up conservation plans that follow the guidelines prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. These guidelines are called the National Tiger Conservation Authority (Normative Standards for Tourism activities and Project Tiger).
Here's a quick break down of what the 2012 guidelines will focus on:
- Tiger conservation
- Present status of tiger, co-predators, prey and habitat
- Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves
- General reasons for tiger decline in areas outside tiger reserves
- Present approach to tiger conservation
- Milestone Initiatives taken for strengthening tiger conservation
- Supporting field oriented research work
- Strengthening of infrastructure within Tiger Reserves
- Habitat improvement and water development
- Local livelihood under Project Tiger
- Ongoing activities and additionalities to be supported under the revised
- Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger
- State to enter into Memorandum of Understanding
- Outline the obligations of the Government
- Tourist facilities and Tour operators
This has created some debate about the tourism industry taking this as a hard reminder and to discipline themselves henceforth. Although there are most definitely exceptions where the tourism industry has been responsible and actually done a lot to protect the Tigers; by creating more sustainable travel options, sponsoring programs and conservations efforts. But there is always someone who ruins it for everyone and doesn't follow the rules. Which is why the ban came about in the first place, irresponsible travel just can't happen anymore. There are just way too many people in the world to not travel responsibly and sustainably.
That's why Wildland Adventures uses local guides, who know and understand the issues and regulations. That's why we're apart of Tiger Nation and support TOFTigers. Wildland has even gone as far to sponsor local guides to give them the training they need to better protect the Tigers and their environment. Then on trips like our Tigers and Travels in India guests actually get their tour guided by the guides we've sponsored. It's that knowledge and responsibility that creates a stewardship to continue to make a difference for the future of Tigers.
Your friendly Tiger lover,
What do you think? Should the Tiger ban stay lifted? Leave a comment and tell us.
More fun Tiger Facts:
- Tigers have a lifespan of 10-15 yrs in the wild.
- Most tigers have over 100 stripes
- Like a human's fingerprints, the patterns on tigers are unique to each animal and can be used to identify individuals.
- The striped pattern is also found on the skin of a tiger, thus if one were to be shaved it's unique camouflage pattern would remain.