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How To Be A Responsible Wildlife Tourist

How To Be A Responsible Wildlife Tourist
There is no dearth of beauty in nature. In pic: a spotted deer feeds on leaves, Photo Credit: Shutterstock
03 Min Read

Let's go over some basic Dos and Don'ts that we, as wildlife tourists need to keep in mind

Scrolling through Facebook, I came across a friend's post. A birder by passion, he was exploring the coastal Tamil Nadu and on one such birding session he was documenting his sightings when all of a sudden a plastic bottle came flying out of nowhere and at some birds he was observing from a respectable distance. Reason? The location (I won't disclose for it may attract more such elements) was rich in birdlife/activity, a perfect spot for some photography. So one such photographer, in order to get that one perfect bird-in-action shot, threw the aforementioned bottle at those birds and a series of click-click followed. Did he get his perfect shot or was he already planning to move on to the next destination and while doing so, gather some more plastic bottles? We'll never know. Whatever it was, it sure did leave a bad taste in the mouth. That post not only left me cringing so hard, but also reminded me of my personal experiences.
 
The whole point of wildlife experience is to see wild animals in their favoured surroundingsA birder myself, I have spent many hours, literally doing nothing, just looking at birds. Real fun is when they are with some prey; other times it's just the bobbing of little heads and ruffling of feathers. Don't get me wrong, I am not the one to discriminate on the basis of activity or the lack thereof. Just trying to pass on a message that if you are really interested in all things wild, there are few things you need to keep in mind. Let's start with distance, shall we?
 
As a wildlife tourist, one must always remember one thing: we came to pay the animals and birds a visit, it's not the other way round. We are in their territory and we should be more than happy to admire them from a distance that is safe for both observed and the observer.
 
A jeep safari in Kabini Wildlife SanctuarySpotting big cats is always fascinating and on the safari, when you come across a patch with beautiful sunset, great composition, but no wildlife in sight, you still don't insist on getting down the vehicle to shoot that perfect sunset. Not all guides or drivers are comfortable saying a stern NO to a paying customer. But it's a part of the many important rules that the forest department officials read out to you before you head out. Lest you have no problem turning into some big cat's chow. Just follow those smart rules, why take unnecessary risks, isn't it? And while we are still discussing food, should you be carrying (smuggling is more like it) packets of chips and chocolates? There are two reasons why I think one should not: A) You eat; leave the wrappers lying around in the safari jeep; jeep gains speed and off goes the wrapper, out of the jeep. Animals and forest don't need those wrappers. B) Over the crunch of chips how do you expect to hear the beautiful sound of the forest?
 
And maintain silence.
 
Keep these simple things in mind, share these with people who you know are planning to take a wildlife vacation. Be a responsible wildlife tourist. Mother Nature gives back beautifully to those who respects her.
 
Read about the do's and don'ts at National Parks here
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How to be a Responsible Wildlife tourist is just not an interesting reading material but also a worth taking cognizance by all not only the regular tourists but by those too who occasionally tour to forests and National parks. I live in Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan, a city well known for National Tiger Reserve. Thousands and thousands of domestic and foreign tourists pay a visit to Sawaimadhopur National park. I have seen with my own eyes how badly they behave. They make their utmost efforts taking their vehicles as near to the wild animals as possible without bothering even for their own lives. They even allure the drivers of the forest vehicles by giving money and other gifts asking them to take the vehicle to the nearest of animals. Their attitude when they spot the big cats is worth notable at that time. They simply turn in children, screaming and shouting loudly scarifying the poor animals. Strange enough the animals do not roar in reaction but the tourists make unbearable noise. They appear as if they have reached Heaven. They also want to make the best use of their camera. They do not bother if flashlight of their camera would terrify the animals. They take eatables with them. After eating, the bags which are mostly plastic ones are thrown there with some material remained in. Should they not see if the remaining material would suit to the birds and other animals. I hope the article - How To Be responsible.................will open their eyes and they will certainly be a responsible tourist when they next pay their visit. Parshuram Gautampurkar,Sawai Madhopur,Rajasthan
Parshuram Gautampurkar March 16 , 2019

"How to be a responsible wild tourist " is just not an interesting material but also worth taking cognizance by all not only the regular tourists but by those too who occasionally tour to forests, national tiger parks etc. I live in Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan, a city well known for Natioal Ti.ger reserve. Thousands and thousands of domestc and foreign tourists pay a visit to Sawai Madhopur National park, I have seen with my own eyes how badly they behave . They maka their utmost efforts to take their vehicle as near to the wild animals as possible without bothering for their own lives . They even bribe the drivers of the vehicles asking them to get the vehicles to the nearest possible. When the cats are spotted,they start screaming ,shouting as if they hafe reached the Heaven. They take photogphs of the animals in such a way that animals get terribly disturbed. They rake eatables with them ,throw bags in the forest and make it dirty and birds eat them without worrying if it will suit to birds or the animals. I hope the article above will make them understand as to how should they act and behave while on tour to National park and on Safari visit. P.Gautampurkar
Parshuram Gautampurkar March 16 , 2019

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