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Experts for controlled eco-tourism in Kaziranga

By Debasish Baruah

KOHORA, March 18 � In the name of strengthening and promotion of tourism sector in Assam which is known for its wildlife parks and sanctuaries, basic principles of ecology where each and every organism from micro to macro level are dependent on each other directly or indirectly for their basic survival are being thrown to the winds and only big hotels/ resorts that are coming up either near the park or wildlife sanctuaries or just on the corridor of the wild animals, which has in fact already disturbed the movement of fauna,� said Dr Bibhab Talukdar, Member, National Board of Wildlife.

� If there is any disturbance on the movement of animals like rhinos, elephants, tiger, or even deer on their existing corridor, definitely a new conflict arises between human beings and wild animals. We must have a controlled tourism to enable a sustainable ecological system. We must remember the fact that tourism cannot be promoted at the cost of wildlife. No development zone area should have been earmarked much earlier so that commercial activities can be stopped near the fringe area of wildlife habitat like Kaziranga National Park. In fact our State does not have any clear cut policy on it� he said, adding that animals cannot readjust themselves every time along with every human activity.

When contacted by this correspondent, Prof. Padmeswar Gogoi, an elephant expert and now a chief scientist of NEDFi (Khetri), pointed out that unused/ used materials like plastic packets and other wastes from kitchen and toilets of hotels/ resorts, are released into the drains which in turn move and get accumulated in the lakes or beels inside the forest area and that finally make the life of aquatic plants and animals miserable and kill them since it pollutes the water system in the lake. Indirectly it also affects negatively the food habitat of rhinos , elephants and avifauna which generally feed on these aquatic plants and animals.

� Even beneficial insects, butterfly and honey bees are badly affected due to the construction activities of big projects where a lot of materials which are synthetic and chemical in nature are used. We must remember the fact that butterfly and honey bee help in regeneration of vegetation and plants through pollination. Big projects always stop natural regeneration of plants,� said Prof. Gogoi. He also said that flood is a necessary evil and since animals often move to the highlands on the foothills of Karbi Anglong situated on the southern side of National Highway 37, it is essential that no business establishment be allowed to run their activities for safe passage of wild animals through their existing natural corridor. According to him eco tourism is the promotion of tourism without any disturbance of Nature and even natural ambience.

While talking to this correspondent, the former principal chief conservator of forest of Assam (Wildlife) and chief wildlife warden of Assam MC Malakar said that instead of

big structures for accommodation of tourists which sometimes disturb the animal corridor, �we need to have small eco tourist cottage type accommodation and eco friendly colour should be applied with minimum light preferably dim light and there should not be any form of pollution like sound of music etc.� In a similar way director of Kaziranga National Park SN Buragohain also stressed on developing of eco tourism in Kaziranga since it enables community participation and minimize pollution . He said big resorts and hotels create disturbances for wildlife in form of sound pollution .

It is worth mentioning that some big hotels are coming up very near to the fringe area where normally rhinoes and even deer roam . Some have already been operating in Kaziranga organising big parties with high decibel musical show. Situation will be alarming if sound and lights and wastes of kitchen and toilets are not controlled. It can add more biotic pressure on the already stressed wildlife.

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Experts for controlled eco-tourism in Kaziranga

KOHORA, March 18 � In the name of strengthening and promotion of tourism sector in Assam which is known for its wildlife parks and sanctuaries, basic principles of ecology where each and every organism from micro to macro level are dependent on each other directly or indirectly for their basic survival are being thrown to the winds and only big hotels/ resorts that are coming up either near the park or wildlife sanctuaries or just on the corridor of the wild animals, which has in fact already disturbed the movement of fauna,� said Dr Bibhab Talukdar, Member, National Board of Wildlife.

� If there is any disturbance on the movement of animals like rhinos, elephants, tiger, or even deer on their existing corridor, definitely a new conflict arises between human beings and wild animals. We must have a controlled tourism to enable a sustainable ecological system. We must remember the fact that tourism cannot be promoted at the cost of wildlife. No development zone area should have been earmarked much earlier so that commercial activities can be stopped near the fringe area of wildlife habitat like Kaziranga National Park. In fact our State does not have any clear cut policy on it� he said, adding that animals cannot readjust themselves every time along with every human activity.

When contacted by this correspondent, Prof. Padmeswar Gogoi, an elephant expert and now a chief scientist of NEDFi (Khetri), pointed out that unused/ used materials like plastic packets and other wastes from kitchen and toilets of hotels/ resorts, are released into the drains which in turn move and get accumulated in the lakes or beels inside the forest area and that finally make the life of aquatic plants and animals miserable and kill them since it pollutes the water system in the lake. Indirectly it also affects negatively the food habitat of rhinos , elephants and avifauna which generally feed on these aquatic plants and animals.

� Even beneficial insects, butterfly and honey bees are badly affected due to the construction activities of big projects where a lot of materials which are synthetic and chemical in nature are used. We must remember the fact that butterfly and honey bee help in regeneration of vegetation and plants through pollination. Big projects always stop natural regeneration of plants,� said Prof. Gogoi. He also said that flood is a necessary evil and since animals often move to the highlands on the foothills of Karbi Anglong situated on the southern side of National Highway 37, it is essential that no business establishment be allowed to run their activities for safe passage of wild animals through their existing natural corridor. According to him eco tourism is the promotion of tourism without any disturbance of Nature and even natural ambience.

While talking to this correspondent, the former principal chief conservator of forest of Assam (Wildlife) and chief wildlife warden of Assam MC Malakar said that instead of

big structures for accommodation of tourists which sometimes disturb the animal corridor, �we need to have small eco tourist cottage type accommodation and eco friendly colour should be applied with minimum light preferably dim light and there should not be any form of pollution like sound of music etc.� In a similar way director of Kaziranga National Park SN Buragohain also stressed on developing of eco tourism in Kaziranga since it enables community participation and minimize pollution . He said big resorts and hotels create disturbances for wildlife in form of sound pollution .

It is worth mentioning that some big hotels are coming up very near to the fringe area where normally rhinoes and even deer roam . Some have already been operating in Kaziranga organising big parties with high decibel musical show. Situation will be alarming if sound and lights and wastes of kitchen and toilets are not controlled. It can add more biotic pressure on the already stressed wildlife.