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Tuesday, July 24

'No tourism in core areas of Tiger reservs', Says Supreme Court Order

Giving relief to environmentalists and nature lovers in the country, the apex court has issued a landmark ruling regarding the tourist activities in the tiger reserves in India. The Supreme Court has ordered a carpet ban on the tourism activities in the core zones of the protected areas in the country which are declared tiger reserves.
This applies to the 40 tiger reserves in the country.

Chital trying to cross the road as tourist vehicles approach
in Kalakkadu Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu
Photo: Indian Biodiversity Talks

The court has also slapped a 10000 rupees fine for six states which have shown laxity in implementing the tiger protection directives issued earlier. The order comes at a time when the country is recording high tiger mortality from its protected areas mainly due to poaching and other factors related to human intervention.

Environmentalists and nature lovers across the country and elsewhere have welcomed the ruling, as they hope it may help improve the conservation status of the striped cat in the jungles of India. According to latest available tiger census report, India houses some 1700 tigers. The figure is a pathetic number for the country which is estimated to have a 100000 strength tiger population a century ago.

The court has issued the verdict during the hearing of a public interest litigation filed by conservation activist Ajay Dubey against commercial tourist activities in the core areas of tiger reserves in the country.
Though a majority of the tourism activities in India’s tiger reserves takes place in the buffer zones- an area of 10 km radius from the boundary of the tiger reserves-, certain states have made some relaxations for some tourist activities like safaris and trekking into the core areas. Most often, the restrictions are lifted for religious occasions related to pilgrim centersinside the forest areas.

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