Tiger tourism banned? Effect on conservation?
India appears to be one of the world’s most active countries in wildlife tourism. Recently however their government has decided to ban one of the most popular activities – tiger tourism – in core tiger areas.
If this action protects tigers in sensitive areas but still allows tiger-based tourism in other regions, it would seem a good thing. But many think it will backfire and tigers will decline faster as a result.
From Wildlife Extra’swebsite http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/tiger-tourism.html#cr:
Not only common sense but hard facts all support the argument that tourism places a spotlight on tigers and provides constant scrutiny of their health and welfare. Remove this spotlight and the door is left wide open to poachers, illegal loggers and other people who do not have the tiger’s best interest at heart. Tourism in the parks needs better regulation as nobody benefits – neither wildlife nor tourist – from irresponsible driving and over exuberant guides. Banning it altogether though is the final nail in the coffin of the tiger.
Visit http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/tiger-tourism.html#cr for further details
Also see http://www.indianexpress.com/news/ban-on-tourists-free-run-for-poachers/994468/, part of which reads:
Ecotourism is the only sustainable, non-consumptive industry available to communities inhabiting the surroundings of our protected areas. Ecotourism can lower the cost of conservation that is borne primarily by these communities.
I saw a tribal youth, whose livelihood depended on tourism in Kanha, telling a news channel that if his livelihood is taken away, he would have no option but to cut the forest trees and kill tigers or become a Naxalite.
Take the case of African wildlife tourism, which is a significant part of the GDP of many African countries. Empirical evidence is available to prove that the critically endangered gorillas of Rwanda were saved only because of the positive impact of tourism on local economies.