Tadoba 2013 – Will the bubble burst?
The summer of 2012 was a dream for tiger lovers across India as Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra made tiger action a cake walk for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts. The volumes were mind boggling at times as each forest safari had the potential of 14-15 tigers in one go. Photographers pumped up their tiger portfolios by spending months braving the heat, picking up easy pickings across the park.
As the park was closed for monsoons and uncertainties surrounded the wildlife circuits of India post the Supreme Court ban, Tadoba gave a ray of hope as we all were ready to pick up the threads from where we left it in summers. The wonder cubs were still sticking around and the sightings were expected to be better than celebrated parks like Ranthambhore and Bandhavgarh. However the situation looked different on the field…
Since the forest was considerably accessible in summers of 2012, the pressure of tourism in Tadoba was split across the park. Vehicles dispersed to Telia, Panderpauni, Waghdogh, Katejhari and Kolsa belts of the park in search of respective tiger families. The ground staff effectively managed the pressure situations around the Telia family because of their central location and tourism as a whole was flourishing effectively during the period.
Foresighted planning and management of tourism can play a big role in reducing the pressure of tiger tourism. Post the monsoons and the upliftment of the ban, the SC verdict resulted in closure of routes in the park. However the closure of routes chopped off the access to all breeding tiger families barring one and the pressure comes back the family of 5 at Telia.
With vehicles storming the picturesque Telia lake (a one-way route), the area is under an umbrella of dust whenever the Telia family emerges in the meadows around the lakes. The Telia tigress is expected to bear the brunt of tourism through the summer of 2013 because of the absence of any other breeding tigress in the tourism zone of Tadoba. Will Tadoba be able to handle the heat of 2013?