BHUBANESWAR: In its bid to intensify sustainable eco-tourism activities in the tiger habitat, the Satkosia Tiger Conservation Foundation (STCF) has decided to plough back funds collected from entry tickets to develop and improve the amenities.
It has also planned to gainfully use the services of the local community in the eco-tourism activities which will improve their economic condition.
In the last meeting of the executive committee of the Foundation, it was unanimously agreed that collection of fees at the entry points to the Tiger Reserve will be optimised through strengthened collection measures. Besides, uniform entry fees will be collected. The fees will be ploughed back for improvement of the tourism facilities.
It was also proposed to introduce bird watching and trekking activities for the eco-tourists at Badmul, Tikarpada, Baliput, Purunakote, Chhotkei and Tarava. The Divisional Forest Officers have been asked to identify the trekking routes within the buffer area of the TR.
Traditional fishermen who depend on Mahanadi river will be employed as local guides for these activities and DFOs have been directed to organise training programmes at the earliest. This will help improve the economic condition of the local community.
The Foundation also decided to use more boats for nature tourism in Mahanadi. Of eight available boats in Mahanadi and Satkosia Wildlife Divisions, the DFOs have proposed to spare one boat each.
The boats will be used for educating tourists about conservation during the day while during the nights, these vessels would be employed for patrolling.
The meeting decided that eco-guides and helpers in boats will be engaged from poor fishermen families so that they are able to earn their livelihood. Boating facility will be provided at Tikarpada and Baliput from October to April. The DFOs have been asked to complete formalities like registration and licence of the boats.
The executive body also decided to develop two existing rooms within Chhamundia Range complex of Mahanadi Wildlife Division and two rooms of Tikarpada Tourist complex where tourists would be accommodated. The booking amount will be deposited in STCF accounts.
The committee also decided to send a proposal to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State for radio-collar of a single gharial from the Gharial Research facility so that valuable information can be derived from the study.