How Tourists Can Help the Indian Tiger

With regards environmental issues, tourism is normally blamed for problems rather than solving them.  However many conservationists believe that tourism could ultimatelty protect the world’s biggest cat – the Indian tiger.  For one main reason, the presence of large numbers of tourists helps keep poachers at bay.

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There’s also a lot of the more responsible eco tourist firms who operate tours around the Indian tigers also donate a proportion of their profits to various social and conservation programs.  Some people have little doubt that tourism has a huge benefit to the environment.  The creation of employment and wealth ensures that locals are much more likely to actively protect the environment.  The prosperity of local communities becomes linked with the welfare of nature an particularly the star attraction the tiger.

Not everyone agrees however, there are some conservationists who claim that the tourism industry is a threat to the cats.  Common problems cited include unethical safari practices, with lodges being built in key habitats and too many jeeps harrassing the animals.

It’s a difficult problem but one that is crucial to the survival of these tigers.  There are merely 1700 animals left in India which represents a 90% fall this century.  The tourism industry rightly point out that the fall in numbers is due to poaching very definitely.

If you are travelling to India to see their tigers, do some research before hand.  You can get some background one of the BBCs wonderful nature programmes with David Attenborough, if you’re outside the UK this website explains how to watch them on the BBC Iplayer abroad – Try and find the tour operators who try and minimise the impact on the tigers and also support various conservation efforts in the area.

Here’s a video I found on Youtube which explains the concept –

If you prefer to watch it in full screen I think you need to watch it directly on the Youtube page

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