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Experts Anxious Till Cheetahs Adapt Kuno National Park, Tourism Not Priority

  International cheetah experts are closely monitoring the movements of 8 spotted cats released on September 17 in Kuno National Park of central India state of Madhya Pradesh. Cheetahs are quarantined for a month and only trained Namibian handlers are allowed to “take care” of the  fastest land animal housed in different small enclosures. The animals are watched from machaans –  watch tower situated about “100 meters away”. Amidst continuing negative media reports on the success of the translocation project, the biggest concern of the Union ministry of forest, environment and climate change (MoEFC&C)   is adaptation  of new environs. “Let's see how soon the cheetahs adapt Kuno”.   Indian Officials Optimistic   Cheetahs are housed in smaller enclosures, the one shown on televisions sets when PM Narendra Modi released them on his birthday on September 17. After one month, they are likely to be released in a bigger enclosure. In another one month or so, they will be released in a

Half-Day, Full -Day Tiger Safaris Banned In Ranthambore National Park

Tiger Safari

 In a sudden move amidst ongoing bookings for tiger safaris in Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan government has stopped the bookings for the full - and half- day tiger safaris. However, the three hour long morning and afternoon safaris will continue.  This will give much needed respite to the tigers from the tourism triggered stress. A study in two famous tiger reserves of Central India- Kanha national park and Bandhavgarh tiger reserve had revealed high levels of stress among the tiger population of the two parks because of the continued disturbance of noise created vehicular traffic and presence of humans. Tigers chasing tourist vehicles have been reported  almost on regular basis from Ranthambore. A frightening 19-second video of a incident, tweeted  in December 2019 , showed  a tiger fiercely chasing a safari jeep as the driver tries to outrun it. In January this year another incident was reported and  as a precautionary measure, the route where the incident was reported was closed for tourists and the tiger was monitored through camera traps.

 Why Long Duration Safaris Banned


Tiger Safari in Ranthambore

The Rajasthan government has applied brakes on the tourist vehicles for full- and half-day safaris excursions almost six years after they were started in 2016 by the erstwhile BJP government amidst protests from conservationists and environmentalists. This step will give fillip to the environment wildlife conservation efforts in india . The state forest department sources said that “the pending bookings for such safaris will be honoured but no new booking for safaris of  half-day and full-day duration will be done”.  Wildlife experts said that the decision “will reduce the stress on tigers and other wildlife from large numbers of  tourists and noisy vehicle movement.”  "There is monetary loss, but the decision to run only the three-hour safaris has been taken in the interest of our staff and the wildlife," Deep N Pandey, head, Forest Force, Rajasthan has been quoted in the media. The park is closed for three months from July to September.  Tourism season will begin from October 1. With about 80 tigers including cubs and sub-adults, Ranthambore is one of the most popular wildlife tourism destinations of  country. 

Also readRanthambore ,Tadoba Tigers Go Behind Bars , More Awaits Cages   

This wildlife sanctuary attracts a large  number of tourists  every year generating about Rs 30 crore  per annum, 10 % of this – Rs 3 crore- is earned from the long duration full day- and half day safaris that had no restrictions. Unlike full day-and half day safaris, the morning and afternoon safaris are restricted to  some tourist zones only.  A full-day safari, offered on Gypsy vehicles, would cost each foreign tourist a whooping  Rs 75,000 while the  half-day charge was Rs 42,600. An Indian tourist pays Rs 55,000 for the full-day safari and Rs 30,000 for half-day. Half day and full day safaris were recommended for avid nature lovers and wildlife photographers. As in half -day and full -day safari guests would have the option to enter in any zone so these safaris are more promising when it comes to tiger spotting, a resort owner said. In comparison, the regular three-hour safari costs a foreigner Rs 14,100 and an Indian Rs 8,700. But the  park management  said it would be difficult to monitor the vehicles  engaged in long duration safaris. “ They were costly  excursions and   we would  always be under pressure  from  many authorities to let them move and spend time near the tiger  for longer durations which would obviously disturb the animal”, officials said.

 How Tourism Trigger Stress Impacts Tigers  

Tiger Safari in Canter in Kanha national park

The long duration safaris were very famous world over attracting   connoisseurs of wildlife photography but   these excursions along with vehicular traffic  from  other tourists would have a negative  impact on wildlife, a study revealed in 2015. Almost the same year , governments in the  states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan also  reduced the period of  park shut down from four months to three ( June to September was changed from July to September)  . The study was conducted in Kanha and Bandhavgarh  tigers. The same year scientists from Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) at CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad     conducted the research . It revealed tigers suffer from high levels of physiological stress due to wildlife tourism and a large number of vehicles entering the parks. Prolonged stress can adversely affect both survival and reproduction, it found. “Chronically elevated glucocorticoid levels can negatively impact growth, reproductive success, immunity, and cause muscular atrophy,” senior author Govindhaswamy Umapathy who was principal scientist and project leader wrote. 

Also read: Monsoon Magic At Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Interestingly, a previous study by the authors, published in 2015, showed that tigers re-introduced in Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan  in 2008 failed to reproduce, probably due to stress elicited by human disturbances. Much before this, in 2006, Govindasamy Agoramoorthy ,a professor of biodiversity conservation and ecotourism at Tajen University, Taiwan, wrote in Down To Earth  “Today it seems that local and foreign tourist parties with their dust-triggering vehicles have replaced royal hunting expeditions of earlier times. The red sandy dust thrown up by the truck had left us choking and we were relieved after reaching the metal road.Tourism in Ranthambore is inimical to wildlife .”

Representaional Images:  Hourly Rooms Ranthambore and India  Inspire Journey, Ranthambore and MP Tourism Development Corporation  


Comments

  1. Not banned but further booking stopped means whatever are booked will be honoured but no more booking opportunities.

    ReplyDelete

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