Increase in animal tourism: a positive step towards conservation

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Like the two phases of a coin, wildlife tourism is also peppered with two perceptions. According to one opinion, wildlife must be separated from tourism, in order to protect endangered species. On the other hand, another school of thought promotes wildlife tourism as a means of conservation. Indian wildlife tourism supports the second set of opinions.

With 99 national parks and over 400 wildlife reserves, India is home to various species of exotic flora and fauna. One of the recent buzzes going on around the city is the rising graph of wildlife tours in India. Previously, wildlife tourism brought new challenges for government agencies, but at present, this increase indeed supports conservation initiatives taken for the welfare of flora and fauna.

Factors behind the increase in wildlife tourism in India

There is a reason behind it all and the rise in Indian wildlife tours is no exception. While there are several factors behind the rate of increase in wildlife tours, the two main reasons are mentioned below:

Presence of rare wildlife species

Various wildlife species threatened with extinction and on the verge of extinction inhabit national parks, sanctuaries and Indian reservations. These rare species are a major tourist attraction during wildlife expeditions. The main species that function as a crowd extractor are shown below:

People love to vacation with wildlife in India because they can’t afford to miss the glimpse of the most furious predator – the tigers. Project Tiger 1973 was initiated in Jim Corbett National Park (India’s oldest established national park) covering 9 tiger reserves. Currently, around 43 tiger reserves fall under the respective project. In the midst of all the reserves, Sunderban National Park is recognized to form the largest tiger reserve in India. Come to One Horned Rhinoceros, then Kaziranga National Park, Assam is known to inhabit the world’s largest population of this endangered species. In addition, Gir National Park is the only home for Asiatic lions.

Nice collection of floral species

Another reason for the increase in tourism is the incredible beauty of Indian wildlife reserves and parks. Their verdant forests not only provide a refuge for wildlife, but also attract tourists from all over the world. It’s the Sunderbans National Park and the Valley of Flowers National Park which are considered a paradise for botanical enthusiasts. These two national parks are world heritage sites renowned by UNESCO. On the one hand, where Sunderbans National Park is renowned for having one of the largest mangrove forests, on the other, the Valley of Flowers is known for its endemic alpine flower meadows. In addition, there are various other sanctuaries recognized for showcasing the plethora of natural beauties.

Tourism in the service of conservation

A wildlife visit to India ultimately helps the respective authorities with new conservation initiatives. The price collected through wildlife tourism is used for the maintenance of national parks and sanctuaries. In a 2012 study in three prominent national parks – Nagarahole, Kanha and Ranthambore, facts revealed that tourists spend around $ 600 for their visit. The study also showed that tourists are willing to come back and are even willing to pay higher entrance fees because they just love the visit. The funds thus collected are then used for the welfare of the fauna living in different parks and sanctuaries. In addition to financial aid, animal tourism also promotes awareness of species of flora and fauna. These tours bring people closer to nature and make them understand the ecological importance of wildlife.

This clearly shows that increasing wildlife tourism is a positive step towards conservation. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that wildlife tourism and conservation are linked. As tourism educates people about wildlife and its importance and hence is part of conservation and on the other hand, conservation allows wildlife enthusiasts to explore the world of their dreams.

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