NEW DELHI: With a move to ease pressure from core areas in tiger reserves, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has come up with guidelines to set up tiger safari in buffer and fringe areas of tiger reserves.
The guidelines provide the basic criteria and procedure required in the buffer and fringe areas for dealing with establishment, management and administration of Tiger safaris’.
According to NTCA, the move is to reduce pressure of tourism from core and critical habitats and to foster awareness for eliciting public support.
It will apply to those tiger reserves which experience 100 percent utilization of their carrying capacity in core and critical habitat. For assessing the requirement, the last three visitation average shall be taken into account while determining the need for a tiger safari.
“No tiger in safari shall be obtained from Zoo exhibit and wild tigers from same landscape as that of area where tiger safari is established following under categories – injured tiger (after treatment), conflict tigers and orphaned tiger cubs which are unfit for release into the wild,” said the guidelines.
This is also expected to become another revenue generation source for tiger reserves as the 70 percent earning shall be re-ploughed to the concerned tiger reserve while 30 percent for tiger safari.
There is a list of do’s and don’ts that each tiger reserve is expected to fulfill which include the area may be as large as possible and should be 40 hectares, extendable as per requirements and the entire area should be surrounded by fence of 5 meter height.
It also lists need for sensitization of visitors, use of battery operated vehicles, upkeep of animals and regulating the entire exercise.
Establishment of tiger safaris is expected to bring cheers to thousands of visitors who throng the tiger reserves to get a glimpse of country’s national animal.
“At present, thousands of people go back disappointed from reserves when they don’t see tiger. But these safaris would nearly ensure that visitors see tigers. This would bring in greater revenue for these centres and help in their conservation and increase awareness,” the official added.
According to the tiger population estimates released in January 2015, India at present is home to 70 percent of the world’s wild tigers. There are around 2,226 tigers in the 48 tiger reserves across India compared to 1,706 in 2010 and 1,411 in 2006.