India tiger parks reopen

This item appears on page 68 of the December 2012 issue.

On Oct. 16, India’s Supreme Court lifted the ban on tourism in tiger reserves that it imposed in July, and tiger-viewing safaris have resumed. The reversal came after the National Tiger Conservation Authority announced new rules and guidelines to address the issues of tourism encroachment into the “core areas” of tiger habitats.

Under the new rules, tourism can continue, but no new tourism infrastructure can be created in core areas and all permanent structures will be removed from them. Also, there will be no increases in the numbers of tourists and vehicles.

To reduce the burden on states to maintain the tiger-conservation areas, states now can collect fees from tourism facilities that service tiger reserves, based on the size, seasonal use and luxury classification of each.

The new guidelines also recommend proper viewing practices, such as keeping a minimum distance from tigers, not feeding them or luring them to viewing locations and not monopolizing a sighting for more than 15 minutes.