A video clip showing tourists blocking the path of a tiger in the Bijrani zone of Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR), has left wildlife lovers and officials red-faced.
Watch video below:
The 1.16 minute video, shot by an unknown guide from a mobile phone, shows a frightened tiger watching nearly half a dozen gypsy vehicles packed with tourists who are heard making a noise in the silence zone. The tiger is seen struggling to cross the passage amid the cavalcade of vehicles.
The management of Corbett Reserve has cancelled the license of a tourist guide Ranjeet, spotted in the video, and set up an inquiry to find out whether there was any ‘security lapse’ inside the protected reserve for tigers. Officials claimed the video was not recent but that they have taken the incident ‘seriously’.
“The video is about one year old as the growth of the grass in the reserve is not that much. We have set up enquiry in the case” Saket Badola, deputy director, Corbett, told Hindustan Times on Friday.
Corbett is home to over 240 Royal Bengal tigers. The reserve is open to tourists between November 15 and June 15, and during this period more than 2 lakh tourists come here to see the tigers and experience the rich bio-diversity of the 1,200 square-kilometre area reserve. The Reserve earns around Rs 7 crore annually from the tourists, but the swelling numbers of visitors has also emerged as a major concern.
Corbett organizes regular trainings for tourist guides and drivers to sensitise them about the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority that allows a minimum distance of 20 metres from the tigers, and also a viewing time of 10 minutes, to avoid any pressure on the animal.
“We have been sensitizing guides and drivers about it and if such an incident is caught on the camera then all our efforts are in vain. Regular monitoring of tourists and their tours inside the reserve is a must to avoid such incidents,” AG Ansari, a wildlife expert, said.