Private forest safari vehicles face ban in Karnataka

Private forest safari vehicles face ban in Karnataka

Published: Monday, Aug 16, 2010, 8:56 IST
By Bosky Khanna Place: Bangalore Agency: DNA

Tourists staying in private resorts and hotels will soon have to stand in queues to use vehicles of the forest department or Jungle Lodges to go on safaris in tiger reserves.

This follows a proposal by the state wildlife board to ban the entry of private safari vehicles in tiger reserves.

The board made the suggestion after reviewing the increasing pressure of tourist vehicles on forest land. The state government is expected to implement the decision soon.

Private resort firms are unhappy and say this will affect eco-tourism and their business. Shiva Kumar, manager of Tusker Trails, a private resort in the fringes of Bandipur tiger reserve, said “This is a wrong decision. Tourists usually don’t opt for government vehicles as they are not generally good.”

Ashwin Pinto, operations manager of Cicada Resorts, Bandipur, saidtourists preferred the services of private resorts to government agencies.

“This decision, if implemented, will also hamper tourist operations. During peak season, we receive around 800 guests,” he said.

But experts said the ban was necessary to cap the mushrooming of private resorts in the fringes of forests.

Wildlife board committee member and assistant director of Wildlife Conservation Society-India Programme Sanjay Gubbi said their aim was to phase out the increasing number of vehicles inside forest areas.

In Kabini, for instance, the entry of vehicles is restricted to 21. The aim is to put such curbs on all national parks and sanctuaries, depending on the road distance for safari and the forest’s carrying capacity.

Increasing vehicular pollution had affected the health of wild animals, experts said.

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