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Wildlife Tourism

Discussion in 'Wildlife and National Parks' started by Drifter, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. Drifter

    Drifter New Member

    I am always a little dubious about wildlife tourism - although it can appear that the animals are cared for (or alternatively, are allowed to roam completely naturally), there is always some doubt in my mind that having an unnatural amount of human interaction cannot be good for them, even if it is at a distance. I understand that travellers like to support local conservation causes, but how can we know for sure that we are actually helping?

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Drifter!

    I think this is a very relevant and important issue. A few years ago, the Supreme Court of India banned tourism on the core areas of tiger reserves. This caused an uproar in the said community as it greatly reduced the state revenues from the national parks and sanctuaries. However, the decision was then reversed by the Supreme Court. Now, 20% of the core areas of the tiger reserves and parks are open for the tourists. But no new tourist facilities are supposed to be built in the reserves.

    Eco-tourism has its own drawbacks and positives. To define eco-tourism, it means opening up these sanctuaries and national parks to the tourists but at the same time, minimising the damage such tourism efforts can do. Mostly, sanctuaries and national parks are the popular eco-tourism locations in India. So let's highlight the negative and positive points of wildlife eco-tourism:

    Negative Impacts of Wildlife Eco-Tourism
    • Pollution - Since many of these national parks offer jeep safaris or canter safaris in the areas inside the park, this can contribute to air pollution in the area. Noise pollution is another problem, as the flow of tourists and their noises can disturb the animals. Littering is another major problem as the guests leave behind their plastic wastes. The construction of hotels nearby the national parks can also add to the waste pollution in the reserves.
    • Destruction and Alteration of Ecosystem - As more and more people visit the parks, the need for more hotels and accommodations also increases. This leads to the destruction and alteration of the natural habitats of the animals in the wildlife.
    • Depletion of Natural Resources - Due to the increase of tourists, especially during peak season, vital needs like water and food also increase. The use of air-conditioners and heaters also leads to higher energy use. Land degradation also occurs as more and more hotels and facilities are built for tourists.

    Positive Impacts of Wildlife Eco-Tourism
    • Increase in Financial Revenues - This money can then be used for the proper management and protection of the park. This money helps feed some of the animals in the national parks. This money can also help in building infrastructures that the animals might need, like man-made lakes and waterholes.
    • Contribution to Government Revenues - Fees collected always have taxes that go to the government. These money help pay for the salaries of government officials like park rangers and patrols. This money can also help in creating campaigns for wildlife awareness.
    • Raising of Environmental Awareness - By visiting these national parks, it helps people realise the importance of preserving the natural habitats of our wild animals. In a way, it also encourages them to conserve and protect our wild animals.
    • Jobs and Participation for Locals - National parks create jobs for the locals as either patrols or rangers. Also, jobs like tour guides, drivers and clerks become available because of these national parks. Locals also get to be involved in the protection of the wildlife in India.

    Just by visiting these national parks, we help in the financial needs of the animals and the area. Here are some other ways that you can help:
    • Be responsible visitors. Don't leave your trash behind, carry a bag with you and put all your trash there. Speak softly and don't scream or shout, this can disturb the animals.
    • Bring your own water and food.
    • Don't pick on the flowers or plants in the park.
    • Know the rules of the park. Some parks don't allow fires in camping sites. If ever it's allowed, always surround the fire with stones to prevent it from spreading.
    • Don't play loud music in the park, this can also disturb the animals.

    I hope this helps!

  3. Trevlr

    Trevlr New Member

    Wildlife tourism also helps in conservation since tourists get to pay some fees which can be used in protecting the endangered species. If they never reversed the decision, it could have affected the tourism industry since some tourists do go to India because of it's tigers. Tourism contributes a lot to the Indian economy and they can't afford losing tourists.