TIGER SAFARI & REGULATION (Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     11th March 2024        

Context: The Supreme Court recently stated that it was "inclined to approve the establishment of the Tiger Safari at Pakhrau" within the buffer area of Corbett Tiger Reserve.

Tiger Safari

  • About: Tiger safari lacks a clear definition under The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as it doesn't specifically mention such activities within its provisions.
  • Evolution of Tiger Safari Concept: The concept of tiger safaris in the wild originated from the Guidelines for Tourism issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2012, which permitted such establishments in buffer areas of tiger reserves to accommodate high tourist influx.
  • Purpose: Initially, tiger safaris were envisioned to accommodate injured, conflicted, or orphaned tigers in buffer and fringe areas of tiger reserves, as outlined by the NTCA guidelines issued in 2016.
  • Changes in Policy: In 2019, the NTCA's stance shifted as it permitted the acquisition of animals from zoos for tiger safari parks, with the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) being granted the authority to select such animals.

Why build a tiger safari in a forest?

  • NTCA Guidelines and Safari Parks: The 2012 NTCA guidelines justified safari parks as a means to lessen the tourism load inside tiger reserves that causes stress on wildlife.
  • Concerns about Unfit Animals: Many are against packing off animals that are unfit for the wild they may be injured, orphaned, or given to conflict — to faraway zoos. Safari parks, they argue, help hold such animals captive in their natural surroundings.
  • Buffer Areas and Local Development: Some stakeholders argue that buffer areas were designated to allow activities that support the livelihood and development needs of local communities — and safari parks generate money and, in turn, local goodwill for the tiger.