ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Can Luxury Tourism Benefit Wildlife?

A Tiger in the Drawing Room

With decisions like the Supreme Court's interim order banning tourism inside tiger sanctuaries becoming inevitable in the face of increasing political and executive resistance to expansion of protected nature reserves on public land, the issue of tiger tourism calls for a pragmatic approach that can resolve contradictions between the burgeoning tourism demand and the tiger's shrinking habitats. A "Tiger Habitat Expansion Model", based on a shared profi t motive between private landowners and tourism entrepreneurs rather than government intervention, is one that can help the tourism industry move towards a sustainable growth model that leverages its economic strength to expand tiger habitats.

With decisions like the Supreme Court’s interim order banning tourism inside tiger sanctuaries becoming inevitable in the face of increasing political and executive resistance to expansion of protected nature reserves on public land, the issue of tiger tourism calls for a pragmatic approach that can resolve contradictions between the burgeoning tourism demand and the tiger’s shrinking habitats. A “Tiger Habitat Expansion Model”, based on a shared profit motive between private landowners and tourism entrepreneurs rather than government intervention, is one that can help the tourism industry move towards a sustainable growth model that leverages its economic strength to expand tiger habitats.

We are grateful to Mahesh Rangarajan, Shekar Dattatri, Govardhan Rathore, Raghu Chundawat, Joanna Van Gruisen and Ruth DeFries for useful interactions on the subject. We acknowledge the Wildlife Conservation Society, Centre for Wildlife Studies, Columbia University and Duke University for supporting our related work.K Ullas Karanth (ukaranth@gmail.com) is with the Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bangalore and the Wildlife Conservation Society, USA. Krithi K Karanth (krithi.karanth@gmail.com) is with the Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bangalore and the Nicholas School of Environment, Duke University, USA.

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