India's top court clamps down on tiger tourism

July 25, 2012
File photo of a tiger crossing a road in the Ranthambore National Park in India's northwestern Rajasthan state. India's top court has suspended tourism in core areas of tiger reserves as the country struggles to stem the dwindling numbers of the endangered wild cats.

India's top court has suspended tourism in core areas of tiger reserves as the country struggles to stem the dwindling numbers of the endangered wild cats, a lawyer said.

The order Tuesday by the Supreme Court in New Delhi came in response to a public interest complaint from wildlife activist Ajay Dubey, who urged tourism be restricted to a buffer zone on the edge of reserves to protect the animals.

Dubey, saying he sought a balance between conservation and the tourist industry, claimed various state authorities were permitting rampant construction of hotels, resorts and other projects in the parks.

"The court has ruled that the core zones in the tiger reserves will not be used for tourism," Siddharth Gupta, the counsel for the complainant, told AFP, adding that a final order is still awaited on the case.

An Indian man walks past a wall mural depicting a tiger in Bangalore. India has seen its tiger population plummet from an estimated 40,000 animals in 1947, when it gained independence from British colonial rule, to just 1,706 in 2011, according to an official census.

Tiger reserves are areas notified by the government of India for the protection of the animal and its prey, and are a key attraction to foreign and domestic tourists in India.

Reserves such as the Jim Corbett National Park attract hordes of holidaymakers who pack into four-wheel-drive jeeps and head along bumpy jungle paths in the hope of spotting one of the estimated 1,706 tigers in India.

The court's order was, however, slammed by some groups who said the ruling would benefit poachers.

"It is like closing the doors and throwing away the keys. Without the eyes and ears of people, the poachers are going to have a field day," Belinda Wright of the non-profit Wildlife Protection Society of India told AFP.

India is home to half of the world's rapidly shrinking wild but has been struggling to halt the big cat's decline in the face of , international smuggling networks and loss of habitat.

The country has seen its population plummet from an estimated 40,000 animals in 1947, when it gained independence from British colonial rule, to just 1,706 in 2011, according to an official census.

Explore further: India's tiger population 'on the rise'

Related Stories

India's tiger population 'on the rise'

March 27, 2011

India's tiger population has increased for the first time in decades, a newspaper said on Saturday, citing a national tiger census report slated to be released next week.

Indian village relocated to protect tigers

February 15, 2012

An entire village inside a north Indian nature reserve has been moved to make more room for local tigers in a bid to protect the country's dwindling big cat population, an official said Wednesday.

Tigers in India could be wiped out

December 19, 2005

A survey of India's tiger population, also known as Royal Bengal tigers, could be as low as 1,500 and they could be wiped out in 10 years.

Study says 2000 tigers possible in Thailand

December 20, 2007

Thailand’s Western Forest Complex – a 6,900 square mile (18,000 square kilometers) network of parks and wildlife reserves – can potentially support some 2,000 tigers, making it one of the world’s strongholds for these ...

India releases tiger numbers as experts convene

March 28, 2011

The Indian Government today released new tiger population numbers for the first time since 2007, indicating that numbers have increased in the country that has half of the world's remaining wild tigers.

India counts its tigers

January 16, 2006

India is starting a comprehensive census of its Bengal tiger population in an effort to discover why the number of animals is declining.

Recommended for you

Energy-saving LEDs boost light pollution worldwide

November 22, 2017

They were supposed to bring about an energy revolution—but the popularity of LED lights is driving an increase in light pollution worldwide, with dire consequences for human and animal health, researchers said Wednesday.

Re-cloning of first cloned dog deemed successful thus far

November 22, 2017

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Seoul National University, Michigan State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has re-cloned the first dog to be cloned. In their paper published in the journal ...

Testing the advantage of being left-handed in sports

November 22, 2017

(Phys.org)—Sports scientist Florian Loffing with the Institute of Sport Science, University of Oldenburg in Germany has conducted a study regarding the possibility of left-handed athletes having an advantage over their ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Rohitasch
not rated yet Jul 25, 2012
Finally! But probably too late.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.