A wildlife safari will be introduced at Jaisalmer’s famed Desert National Park this week to allow tourists to enjoy diverse wildlife that exists amid the Thar desert besides boosting economy.
The park is spread in an area of 3,000 sq km and formed of undulating sand dunes, jagged rocks, dense salt lake bottoms and inter-medial areas. Various species of animals such as black buck, chinkara, desert fox and cat, blue bull, desert gerbil, sand grouse and gecko, fringe-toed agama eagles inhabit the park.
Endangered Great Indian Bustard, one of the world’s heaviest flying birds, can also be seen in it. In winter, the park hosts an incredible variety of migratory raptors such Himalayan and Eurasian Griffon Vultures, Eastern Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon.
An Indian tourist will be charged `50 as entry fee and a foreigner `300 along with `1,000 as safari vehicle fare, an official said on Sunday.
Jaisalmer, also known as Golden City for yellow stones that buildings are made from give it a distinctive golden glow, is a tourist hotspot for its sand dunes, Sonar Quila (Jaisalmer fort), Tanot Mata temple and traditional Rajasthani architecture. The safari at the park will add another feather in its cap.
Jaisalmer district conservator of forest (wildlife) Anoop KR told HT, “This week, we will be starting wildlife safari at the park for tourists. Under the eco-tourism programme, the safari is being started where tourists will be able to see unique found only in dessert areas such as in Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner.”
People were conducting desert safari outside the park but now tourists would be able to see desert animals inside the park, he said, adding that a 12-km trail has been identified and tourists will be accompanied by registered guides.
“Guides are residents of villages inside the park. They were given training for a year by my department and Wildlife Conservation Trust, a Mumbai-based NGO,” he said.
Anoop said: “Our objective is to promote and encourage tourism in Jaisalmer. If the initiative works then wildlife safari will also come in itinerary of tourist, which will extend their stay for a day. In addition to this, the move will provide livelihood to local residents as they are involved as guides and vehicles drivers.”
He said vehicles used for safari were registered with the forest department and no other vehicles would be allowed inside.