Tourism: wildlife boon or bane

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

Its a tough one to answer, but yes, there is an an answer. Not an easy one, but it can be done.

 In Rwanda (and several other countries that have learned to turn their wildlife tourism into a sustainable income source for the nation and for the communities living next to wild places), a central, online booking facility offers entry tickets to just so many people and no more. The spill over demand is directed to optional destinations. Howls of protest notwithstanding, people will start making plans well in advance and might visit Nagzira and Melghat, or even go down south to Periyar, or north to Dudhwa. Half the lodges that have been set up around our most popular wildlife parks are so haphazardly located that they have begun to harm the wild species people come to see. Many lodges will no doubt be forced to shut down because people will be able to get rooms, but no entry tickets. This will be good for the tiger and for the visitor experience.

Simultaneously, by working with marginal farmers outside destinations such as Tadoba, Ranthambhore, Kanha and Bandhavgarh, the overflow of wildlife can be watched in these zones OUTSIDE the park. Here home stays will benefit locals, visitors and wild species. This is cutting edge conservation. It is the future. It is a solution. Tough, but doable.

 Read this for a more detailed view on how tourism can be a conservation tool.