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6/1/2014 Mrunal [Environment] SC Ban on Tiger Tourism, Core and Buffer Areas, Project Tiger, NTCA Guidelines explained

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[Environment] SC Ban on Tiger Tourism, Core and Buffer Areas, Project
Tiger, NTCA Guidelines explained
1. What is core zones and Buffer Zone?
2. What is Project Tiger?
3. What is NTCA?
4. Why is Tiger population threatened?
5. Concept of Umbrella Species: Why do we need to protect Tiger?
6. International Cooperation
7. Timeline of Events
8. July 2012: SC bans tourism
9. Pro-Tourism Arguments
10. Misleading information by Media
11. Employment
12. Tourism actually helps the tigers
13. Ban on Tourism hurts the tigers
14. Anti-Tourism Arguments
15. Sept-Oct 2012: NTCA frames guidelines
16. October 2012: UPSC asks the question
17. October 2012: SC Lifts the Ban
18. Conclusion
19. Roleplaying question for interview.
20. Cheetah
21. Appendix 1: List of 41 tiger reserves in India
22. Appendix 2: Maps of Tiger Reserves in India
Before discussing Supreme Court’s ban on Tiger Tourism, Let us go through some
What is core zones and Buffer Zone?
Under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, the state governments have to notify the
list of core and buffer areas of tiger reserves in their territory.
Core zone (critical tiger habitats): This is where tigers usually rest, reside,
feed and breed. Therefore, Government should prevent any disturbance in such
areas, including tourism.
Buffer zone = areas that lie in the periphery of the core zone.
Buffer zones constitute the fringe areas (=The outside boundary or surface of
something) of tiger reserves up to 10 kms. Following map should clear the
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Core Zone and Buffer Zone (Click to Enlarge)
What is Project Tiger?
A 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme, by Ministry of Environment and Forest
It was launched in 1973, in nine reserves of different States (Assam, Bihar,
Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh
and West Bengal)
Right now it covers total 41 tiger reserves in 17 states.
It is a program for “in-situ” conservation of Tigers. (what is the difference
between in-situ vs ex-situ? What’re the pros and cons of each method? We’ve
already seen it in an old article- click ME)
In crude words,
It provides for staff, equipment, and infrastructure in tiger reserves.
Provides for money, in case a man or cattle is killed by wild animals,
crop is lost, rehabilitation of villages etc.
What is NTCA?
National Tiger Conservation Authority
It is a provided in the Wildlife Protection Act (Ameneded in 2006).
Therefore NTCA is a statutory body. The Minister of Environment and Forest,
is the chairman of this NTCA. (Jayanthi Natarajan right now).
It coordinates, implements and monitors Project Tiger.
It prepares annual reports, which are laid down in the parliament.
Why is Tiger population threatened?
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Deforestation because of
Human pressure: farming, mining, illegal felling of trees.
Grazing of domestic animals
Because of Deforestation, the size of tiger-prey (Deer, sambar etc.) has
Hence tigers have to come outside the protected areas to hunt for animals,
including domestic cattle. This leads to man-animal conflict, tiger deaths in
road accidents, and provides ample opportunities to poachers.
Tiger breeding/ reproduction is reduced/disturbed due to highways, noise
pollution, tourism etc.
Tiger is a territorial animal, which advertises its presence in an area through
urine marking and maintains a territory. Therefore, to support a population of
80-100 tigers, you’d need a protected area of atleast 1000 sqkm- totally
undisturbed. Otherwise the male tigers would fight, maim and kill eachother
and the weaker ones would be forced to hunt in surrounding villages- leading
to man-animal conflicts.
But because of the highways, villages, farming activities, the Habitats are
getting fragmented. Habitat Fragmentation = bad for tigers. They cannot move,
hunt or breed freely in small and fragmented habitats.
Insurgency in North East and naxals in Central India= Forest dept. cannot
efficiently work and protect tigers.
Concept of Umbrella Species: Why do we need to
protect Tiger?
1. Tiger is an “umbrella species”. It resides at the top of the jungle food chain.
2. A healthy tiger population indicates that the other ecological components in
its habitat are equally robust, since tigers need large amount of prey and good
3. If the Umbrella species is protected, it will also ensure viable populations of
other wild animals (co –predators like Leopords and prey like dears) and the
habitat (trees, shrubs, water).
4. Thus, when you’re protecting the tiger, you’re indirectly protecting the whole
jungle and all the species that live in it.
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International Cooperation
1. India has a bilateral understanding with Nepal on controlling trans -boundary
illegal trade in wildlife and conservation,
2. India has signed a protocol on tiger conservation with China
3. India has signed a protocol has with Bangladesh for conservation of tigers in
Sunderban region.
4. India has Constituted a group on tiger and leopard conservation with Russia.
5. India is a party to Convention on Inter national Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
6. Unlike China, India doesn’t support captive breeding of tigers (breeding tigers
on a commercial scale, to sell their hides and bones later, just like a poultry
7. India made an appealing to China to phase out tiger farming and eliminate
stockpiles of Atiger body parts and derivatives.
Now coming to the topic of SC Ban on Tiger Tourism
Timeline of Events
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July 2012: SC bans tourism
One Mr.Ajay Dubey (NGO named “Prayatna”) filed a public interest litigation
(PIL) in Supreme court.
He argued that
1. Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 implies that tourism to all “core” tiger
habitats in India should be banned.
2. But yet, Several state Governments have allowed the construction of hotels,
resorts and shops inside the core areas of tiger reserves.
So, Supreme court looked into the matter and imposed a temporary ban on all
tourism in the core areas of tiger reserves.
Pro-Tourism Arguments
Misleading information by Media
Consider this- Supreme Court has only banned tourism activity in the “CORE”
zone and not in the “buffer” zone.
Yet the media covered the whole news in such a sensationalized manner that
potential tourists thought SC has completely banned tourism in tiger reserves.
Hence they cancelled their trips.
The truth is, the tourism was still permitted in buffer zones and many a times,
tourists can get a glimpse of tigers and other wildlife, while touring in the
buffer zones.
For example, in Uttarakhand’s Jim Corbett National Park and Assam’s
Kaziranga Wildlife Reserve, nobody is allowed to go into 95% of the core
area. So even before the SC ban, for all these years, tourists were seeing the
buffer area only.
1. Tiger tourism is an 18 million dollar$ industry.
2. In Madhya Pradesh Alone, more than 20,000 people earn their livelihood
through tiger-tourism activities related activities.
3. There are entire towns that rely on tourism. Ranthambhore [a National Park in
Jaipur] alone gets 2 lakh tourists per year and provides employment to almost
4,000 local people directly (from hotel managers, travel guide, waiters, cooks
etc) and perhaps 10 times that amount indirectly (rickshaw drivers, fruit-
vegetable-milk suppliers etc.)
4. Tourist season is October to March. And generally they get huge bookings
during Diwali Season. But if tourism activities are banned then all those
potential customers might prefer to go vacation elsewhere. Thus severely
affecting the livelihood of so many people.
Tourism actually helps the tigers
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1. Presence of tourists provides extra eyes and ears to the Forest Department.
2. It helps protect the animals by deterring poachers and loggers,
3. It does not affect the animals’ willingness to hunt or breed.
4. Seventeen tiger reserves have few or no tigers left in them. No tourism has
ever been allowed in or near these reserves. Instead, loggers arrived, thinned
the jungle then tigers were forced to hunt outside core areas and poachers got
easy opportunities to kill them.
5. Poachers are the largest threat to tigers, not tourism. And the solution thus, is
improvement in law enforcement rather than a ban on tourism.
Ban on Tourism hurts the tigers
1. The complete ban on tourism = ban would result in loss of livelihood
(income) to local populations (Who work as tourist guides, supply vegetables
etc to the hotels etc.)
2. And then they would be forced to be more dependent on forest for their
livelihood e.g. cutting trees, selling jungle produce illegally, may be hunting
and poaching. so overall, this ban will damage the jungles and wildlife.
Anti-Tourism Arguments
1. The tour operators run ‘wildlife safaris’ day and night. All the vehicle
movement, honking, shouting, camera flashes disturb the tigers.
2. Construction of hotels, shops etc = deforestation.
3. The garbage created by tourists, hotels = not good.
Sept-Oct 2012: NTCA frames guidelines
Recap: SC had banned tourism in core areas of tiger reserves. So, if Government
wanted to get this ban lifted, it’d need to convince the supreme court that we are
doing everything to protect the tigers and make sure tourism doesn’t hurt the tigers.
Union Government >> Ministry of Environment and Forest >> National Tiger
Conservation Authority (NTCA). This NTCA framed new guideline for State
Governments regarding the Tiger Tourism.
Here are the salient guidelines / main recommendations:
1. Allow tourist activities, only up to 20 percent of the core/critical tiger habitat.
2. Instead of the conventional wildlife tourism, promote a new type of tourism
(ecotourism) that conserves the environment, educates the tourists about tiger
conservation and improves the well-being of the local people.
3. Make sure that no new tourism infrastructure (resorts, hotels, shops etc) is
created in the core areas of tiger reserves.
4. If there are already any permanent tourist infrastructure (resort,hotels etc)
inside the core areas, then they’ll be removed in phased manner. The
procedure will be regulated by a Local Advisory Committee. This Local
Advisory Committee will comprise of divisional commissioner, local MLA
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and district collector.
5. Charge a conservation fee ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 3000 from the tourism -
depending upon the number of beds in a particular resort. And use this money
for the benefit of local community.(education, health, etc)
6. Visitors be kept at least 20 meters from all forms of wildlife and nobody will
be allowed to lure or feed any wildlife creatures.
7. each tiger reserve should calculate the maximum number of visitors and
vehicles that can be permitted on any given day considering their potential to
disturb wildlife. E.g. At Kanha, the limit will be 25 vehicles in forenoon and
15 in afternoon
8. Use of battery operated vehicles, instead of diesel or petrol operated vehicles,
to reduce noise pollution.
9. 10 per cent of the revenue generated from pilgrim centres located in tiger
reserves, should be spent for to develop local communities via Gram Sabha.
10. All tour guides and drivers shall compulsorily go through a short course in
rules and regulations of tiger-reserves, followed by an oral examination. Only
after passing the exam, they’ll be allowed to conduct tours.
11. All certified guides and drivers shall wear special uniforms with name tags and
12. Prior to every tourist season, certified guides and drivers shall go through a
refresher course or workshop.
13. The use of wood as fuel shall be prohibited, except for campfires
14. All tourist facilities, old and new- must be environment friendly.
1. Have low height
2. Shall aim to generate at least 50 % of their total energy and fuel
requirements from alternate energy sources (solar and biogas)
3. Waste recycling, water management,
4. Natural cross-ventilation (to reduce the need for AC),
5. No use of asbestos,
6. Discharge of only treated sewage,
7. No air pollution,
8. Minimal outdoor lighting outside the building
9. They should merging with the surrounding landscape, via right
combination of wall colors and aesthetic architecture.
Now, Union Government filed an affidavit in the Supreme court and said “Please
see this list of guidelines framed by NTCA. We’ll make sure that tourism doesn’t
harm the tigers. Now please lift the ban.”
October 2012: UPSC asks the question
UPSC Conducts Civil Service (Mains) General Studies Exam, and asks following
Q. The issue of tourism in core areas of tiger reserve forests in the country is a
subject matter of debate. Critically examine various aspects of this issue, keeping in
view relevant recent judicial pronouncements. (250 words, 25 marks)
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October 2012: SC Lifts the Ban
Supreme Court considers the plea of Government and passes judgment: ok
well very, since you’ve framed the new guidelines, We lift the ban.
but from now onwards, all the tourism activities must be regulated in very
strict manner. And We also direct the state governments to prepare their tiger
conservation plan within in six months and submit it to the National Tiger
Conservation Authority (NTCA) for approval.
In last century, there were more than 40,000 tigers in India, now barely 1700
Tiger protection is not the job of Forest Department alone. It requires
coordination between and stakeholders, including the departments forestry,
agriculture, social welfare, tourism, fisheries, tea -coffee estates, road and
rail transport, mining, thermal power plants, irrigation projects, temples, tour
operators, tourists, Gram Sabha, local villagers.
Unless each and every one of them is sensitized about the issue, tiger may not
survive to see the next century.
Roleplaying question for interview.
Suppose you’re the administrator of a tiger reserve. Give us a list of essential men
and material requirements to run the organization.
1. Police/forest guards/ex- army personnel, with wireless handsets, weapons,
ammunition, and handcuffs for apprehending offenders.
2. Compass, range finder, Global Positioning System (GPS), camera traps, radio
collars, binoculars and night vision goggles., to petrol the jungle and keep an
eye on tigers.
3. Kerosene, tent, medicine, field kit, mosquito net, torch etc.
4. Vehicles (Gypsy, Jeep, Truck, Tractor, boats) to ferry the men and injured
5. elephants (for patrolling in core areas- because jeeps would disturb the tigers)
6. Money to Rewards the informers about poaching and tree cutting.
7. Tranquilizer guns, cages in case there is need to capture a man eater
tiger/leopard or in case they attack on nearby villages.
8. A 24/7 Veterinary doctor to deal with injured animals.
9. Residential accommodation for the family and children of frontline staff
(forest guards, doctors etc. in nearby towns or villages)
A side note for for GK
Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to take up reint roduction of
cheetah in the States of Rajasthan (Shahgarh area) and Madhya Pradesh
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(Kuno- Palpur and Noradehi Wildlife Sanctuaries).
The said States would receive 100 % support towards village relocation.
Appendix 1: List of 41 tiger reserves in India
It may not be possible to memorize the whole list, but atleast for the interview and
State PSC exam, mugup the names of reserves in your state and in the surrounding
Here is the Statewise Alphabetical list.
Name State
Kawal Andhra Pradesh
Nagarjunsagar Andhra Pradesh
Namdapha Arunachal Pradesh
Pakke Arunachal Pradesh
Manas Assam
Nameri Assam
Kaziranga Assam
Valmiki Bihar
Achanakmar Chattisgarh
Udanti-Sitanadi Chattisgarh
Indravati Chhattisgarh
Palamau Jharkhand
Biligiri Ranganatha Temple Karnataka
Bandipur Karnataka
Bhadra Karnataka
Dandeli-Anshi Karnataka
Nagarahole Karnataka
Periyar Kerala
Parambikulam Kerala
Kanha Madhya Pradesh
Pench Madhya Pradesh
Bandhavgarh Madhya Pradesh
Panna Madhya Pradesh
Satpura Madhya Pradesh
Sanjay-Dubri Madhya Pradesh
Sahyadri Maharashtra
Melghat Maharashtra
Tadoba-Andhari Maharashtra
Pench Maharashtra
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Dampa Mizoram
Similipal Odisha
Satkosia Odisha
Ranthambore Rajasthan
Sariska Rajasthan
Anamalai Tamil Nadu
Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tamil Nadu
Mudumalai Tamil Nadu
Dudhwa Uttar Pradesh
Corbett Uttarakhand
Sunderbans West Bengal
Buxa West Bengal
New Tiger reserves
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has granted approval for
creation of 5 new tiger reserves viz
1. Pilibhit –UP
2. Ratapani –MP
3. Sunabeda –Odisha
4. Mukundara Hills –Raj.
5. Satyamangalm TN
And, Final approval has also been accorded to Kudremukh (Karnataka) for declaring
as a tiger reserve.
NTCA has also requested the State Governments, to file proposals to create Tiger
reserves in following areas.
1. Bor (Maharashtra),
2. Suhelwa (Uttar Pradesh),
3. Nagzira-Navegaon (Maharashtra)
4. Gu ru Ghasidas National Park (Chhattisgarh)
5. Mhadei Sanctuary (Goa)
6. Srivilliputhur Grizzled Giant Squirrel / Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuaries /
Varushanadu Valley (Tamil Nadu).
Appendix 2: Maps of Tiger Reserves in India
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Click To Enlarge
proposed Tiger Reserves in India (click to Enlarge)
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Posted By On 17/10/2012 @ 14:28 In the category biodiversity