The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) may revisit guidelines on establishment of tiger safaris in the country, according to minutes of an official meeting.
The meeting was held in Delhi last month mainly to discuss tiger safaris in Madhya Pradesh’s Kanha and Pench tiger reserves. The proposals to establish tiger safaris in these two tiger reserves were not given a go ahead due to different reasons, said the minutes of the meeting held at the NTCA office here.
However, member secretary of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), who was also attending the meeting, raised various issues related to tiger safaris. The member secretary pointed out that “no live prey should be fed to tigers in safaris” and that there should be separate infrastructure for management of safari, among others.
He also said that prior approval of the CZA need to be taken before start of construction activities for the safari. It was decided that the Field Directors, Kanha and Pench tiger reserves shall revise their proposals as per the points raised by the CZA representative and resubmit to the NTCA, the minutes said.
“The additional director general (Project Tiger) and Member Secretary (NTCA) thanked the participants and stated that in view of the objections raised by the member secretary, CZA, guidelines to establish tiger safari need to be revisited,” said the minutes of the meeting, copy of which was received in response to an RTI query filed by wildlife activist Ajay Dubey.
Welcoming the move to revisit the guidelines, Dubey said that conservation of the big cats should never be compromised.
The NTCA had in 2016 issued the guidelines for setting up of tiger safaris in tiger reserves in order to check tourist pressure in critical habitat of the big cats. There are six tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh — Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Bori-Satpura, Sanjay-Dubri and Pench — which have about 308 big cat, according to a central government report of 2014.
There are an estimated 2,226 tigers in India, it said.