Ecotourism restricted

 
Published: Wednesday 30 April 1997

-- (Credit: Anil Agarwal /CSE)a ban on tourism in core areas of national parks and a general ceiling on visitors to sanctuaries, tiger reserves and other protected areas (pa), have been proposed in the revised guidelines for wildlife tourism in pas. The guidelines were presented to the Indian Board of Wildlife at its recent meeting. This move seems to have come about in the wake of the alarming rise in the number of visitors and their unregulated activity in certain parks and tiger reserves of late.

Naturally, wildlife enthusiasts feel that the aim of creating parks and reserves is to conserve nature and biodiversity. However, the ministry of environment and forests is sending the signal which reads: "don't kill the goose that lays golden eggs". For the government obviously, tourism activities in pas have been a source of good revenue.

The Sabarimalai in the south records the highest number of visitors, about 30 lakh a year most of which are pilgrims. And about 20 per cent of the other better known parks draw anything from 20,000 to 50,000 visitors in a year. But according to experts, the sanctum sanctorum or the core area of pas are considered vital not only for long-term research, but also for maintaining the health of the entire pa.

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