SC extends ban, but hints at regulated tiger tourism

If theres no tourism, therell be no humans to watch the tigers... poachers work undercover

Extending the ban on tourism in core tiger reserve areas till September 27, the Supreme Court on Wednesday indicated it was not averse to permit regulated tourist activities, subject to the Centre evolving suitable revised guidelines to protect the depleting wild cat.

A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar granted four weeks to the Centre to evolved the fresh guidelines after consultations with States, all stake-holders, hotel associations affected by the ban, guides and tour operators.

On July 24 the apex court had banned all tourism activities in the core tiger reserve areas. “There is always a watch when tourism is allowed. If there is no tourism there will be no humans to watch the tigers. “Poachers will immediately be caught by tourists and the guides. Poachers actually work undercover.

If no tourists are allowed, it will be a field day for poachers,” the bench told Attorney General GE Vahanvati, who agreed with the observations. The apex court passed the observation after the AG sought permission to revise the existing guidelines to ensure that tigers were protected even while tourism is promoted.

The bench asked the Centre whether the existing tiger conservation guidelines envisage a complete ban on all activities inside core areas. The Centre submitted that the rules did not envisage a complete ban, rather provided for 20 per cent activities inside the core areas.

“There seems to be some kind of clash, some kind of difference of opinion between centre and the states. Please ensure these are resolved.

“Also identify which activities shall be allowed and not allowed inside core areas,” the bench observed adding it wanted comprehensive guidelines to promote both growth of tiger population and regulated tourism.The bench asked the AG to ensure regulated tourism as hundreds of vehicles are trooping in an out of the core areas.

“It has been a free for all till now. Is it necessary to take 100 vehicles into the core areas,” the apex court wondered.

Tiger cub dies at Patna zoo
The joy of birth of three tiger cubs at Patna zoo was short-lived as one of the newly-born died on Wednesday. The other two cubs too have developed severe infections, fever and convulsions, reports DHNS from Patna.

The loss of the animal comes close on the heels of death of an Asiatic lion cub on August 18.

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