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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tiger tourism focus shifts to Ramnagar, Terai West

The State Government is planning to encourage tourism in the buffer zones of Corbett National Park so as to lessen the negative effect of tourism in the core zone of the park with the start of the tourist season on November 15.

The authorities hope that in addition to improving the environment and reducing wildlife crime in the core zone, encouraging tourism in Ramnagar and Terai West forest divisions will also help in the socio-economical development of the local residents.

Speaking to The Pioneer, the State Forest and Environment Advisory Committee vice-chairman, Anil Baluni, said that more than two lakh visited Corbett National Park during the tourist season that ended in June this year. Though the tourism activity has some positive effect on the national park, it is also exploited by poachers who increase their activities in the core zone during the tourist season.

In order to decrease the pressure of tourists in the core area and to prevent wildlife crimes, the department will encourage tourism in the buffer zones from November 15 when it reopens for tourists. The wildlife including tigers, elephants, other creatures and the environment which attracts tourists to the national park can also be enjoyed in the Ramnagar and Terai west forest divisions.

Both guides and tourists will be encouraged to view the attractions in these forest divisions as this region will remain open for tourists throughout the year unlike Corbett which is open to tourists from November 15 to June 15. Baluni stressed that the State wants at least one person from each family living in Ramnagar to benefit directly from tourism activity as their development will correspond to the welfare of wildlife and environment in the national park and its buffer zone.

The tiger population in the Corbett Tiger Reserve landscape is estimated to be more than 200 with at least 30 tigers believed to be present in Ramnagar forest division. This area is also important as, according to the latest tiger survey conducted by the Wildlife

Institute of India, it is one of the few places in India where the tiger population has increased outside protected areas. Ramnagar was declared a tourism city by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' earlier this month.