Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve: “Eco-tourism or Eco-Terrorism?” Questions NTCA 

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve: "Eco-tourism or Eco-Terrorism?” Questions NTCA

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve: "Eco-tourism or Eco-Terrorism?” Questions NTCA

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A swarm of safaris, tourists, guides and drivers cornered tigress Roma in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve on 17th May, raising objections.

27 May 2024

By Khushi Maheshwari

As a statutory body under the MoEFCC that oversees all of the nation’s tiger reserves, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has strongly denounced the recent incident at Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), where, on 17 May, over 150 tourists, drivers and guides in 20 safari vehicles cornered a tigress named Roma (T-114).

NTCA member-secretary Gobind Sagar Bhardwaj said in an interview with TOI on Sunday that it was eco-terrorism rather than eco-tourism. Bhardwaj said that the park authorities had taken the issue seriously and that guides and drivers of vehicles had been disciplined for impeding the tigress. Bhardwaj further stated that nine drivers and guides were fined Rs 3,000 and placed on temporary suspension on Sunday for failing to keep enough distance between the safari cars and the tiger. Anand Reddy, deputy director of TATR (core), added that a guide operating a TATR vehicle was suspended for a month and that the driver had been fired.

Some travellers, who wished to remain anonymous, commented that they were surprised that the event took place eight days later. They stated that Tadoba was informed of the event because the “Bagheera App,” which is used to track safari vehicles, was installed. They were surprised that, in spite of the presence of more than 150 people, the incident was unreported. 

They blamed the chaos on the overabundance of quotas provided to VIPs. They emphasised that, despite the main area’s 125 vehicle carrying capacity from the six park gates, this restriction is regularly surpassed during the busiest time of year for wildlife tourism.

Honorary wildlife warden of Gadchiroli, Uday Patel, questioned why, in spite of the buffer zone’s 14 entry gates being opened, the carrying capacity of the core region wasn’t decreased. He noted a 2012 judgement from the Supreme Court requiring a gradual transition of tourists from core areas to buffer zones—a direction that is not being implemented in any national park.

The incident was made public on social media when images and videos of the packed cars encircling the tigress went viral. Sandeep Gujar, a wildlife photographer, voiced worries about how uncontrolled tourism affects wildlife and their habitat.

NTCA officials emphasised that their decision to take action against the offenders sends a strong message that such behaviour won’t be tolerated in the future.

Former warden Jaydeep Das stressed the need for stricter monitoring and enforcement of tourism guidelines.