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‘Eco-tourism needs to move away from tigers’

BENGALURU: “Saving the tiger seems to be only focus. We need to move eco-tourism away from tigers,” said Dilip Kumar PJ, former director general of forests and special secretary, Union ministry of environment and forests.

Speaking at a consultation on Karnataka’s eco-tourism policy, Dilip said: “Ecotourism today seems to be about going to pristine forest areas and having a gala time. Some tourists even play loud music, thereby disturbing the wild animals. We need to provide visitors other forms of enjoyment like nature walks, treks and farm visits.”

The event saw stakeholders, including wildlife experts, entrepreneurs, resort owners, NGOs and bureaucrats, discuss ways to ensure better forest management. Introducing activities like treks and eco walks, and exploring new destinations will help, they said.

CB Ram Kumar, managing director, Our Native Village, Bengaluru, said over-exploitation of destinations can be avoided by monitoring visitors. “We can’t stop people from entering forests but we should be able to manage them,” he added.

Arjun Kapoor from Karnataka Ecotourism and Resorts Association said technology has helped tourists become explorers. “As the number of tourists grows, there is a need for the forest department and jungle resorts (both government and private) to arrive at an agreement on tourist management,” he said.
The event was organized by Dharthi, an NGO, in association with IIMB and the forest department.

Need better preparation to tackle fires

MH Swaminath, former secretar, forests, government of Karnataka, said the department needs to be prepared better to tackle forest fires. “The preparation needs to begin in November every year. Since the drought conditions have been severe this year, the chances of forest fires are more,” he added.
Source: timesofindia