Tiger Sighting in Dhikala, Corbett Tiger Reserve (C.T.R.)
Jim Corbett, a legendary hunter of man-eating tigers before turning conservationist and bestselling author, was born today, 137 years ago.
And today, newspapers reported front page
, and analysed in inside pages, the order the Supreme Court passed yesterday imposing a complete ban on tourism activities in the core areas of India
’s Tiger Reserves. The order was in response to Ajay Dubey’s petition seeking a court ruling directing States to notify buffer and peripheral areas in Tiger Reserves under the Wildlife (Protection) Act to prevent tourism in the core areas.
I cannot say for sure what Jim Corbett would’ve made of the Supreme Court ruling on the eve of his birth anniversary but I’ve little doubt that he would applauded the Bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and Ibrahim Kalifullah for passing the order if he believed it would give tigers the much needed space from humans increasingly breathing down its neck.
Personally I feel it’s the perfect birthday gift to Jim Corbett even if the timing of the court order was a coincidence, for it was in the Corbett Tiger Reserve (C.T.R) on a recent visit that I truly understood firsthand the pressure Tiger Tourism is subjecting its most famous mascot to.
Within minutes of the tiger sighting, word got around as forest guides worked their cell phones informing their colleagues on duty in other jeeps ferrying tourists around the forest reserve, and no sooner I turned my head after trailing the tiger in the grass to my left, a succession of jeeps had roared to a stop behind our own.
And in front of me, an equally long line of jeeps that had come roaring down the path in clouds of dust crowded the jungle trail and effectively cut off the tiger's path in the event it were necessary to use the trail as it stalked its prey in shoulder high grass.
While it did not seem to bother the tiger much, at least on the face of it though I cannot be certain, the commotion however made the prey it was stalking, extremely fidgety. The lot of us had managed to blow the tiger's cover and effectively ruined its hunt. I've no doubt about that. None at all.
The tourists however did not miss their breakfast for, it was waiting for us as we trooped back to the Forest Rest House for a wash before filing into the canteen for a steaming menu of South Indian and North Indian choices!