Driven by the numbers that say how tiger population in India dropped from 3,642 animals in 2002 to just 1,411 in 2008, government-run National Tiger Conservation Authority has decided to ban tourists from entering the areas of the 37 national tiger reserves in India.
National Tiger Conservation Authority definitely got its reasons for such decision as tiger habitats are disturbed by vehicles, noise, garbage, and most of all their habitats are shrinking because tourism needs more and more facilities. One bad example of tourist activity happened one month ago when small tiger cub was run over by tourist vehicle in Bandhavgarh tiger reserve. In some reserves tigers have become extremely tolerant to people and vehicles which makes tiger poaching much easier.
But there's also a downside to this latest decision. Some experts think that without tourism poaching problem would become much bigger because area with no tourists will give poachers free hands to hunt these beautiful animals. We mustn't forget that tiger skin can achieve price up to $10,000 in China's black market.
There are also some examples that show how this tourist ban isn't such a good idea because across some parks where tourism was allowed tiger population increased in last couple of years while in reserves with no tourists tiger population experienced tremendous decline because of more poaching in these areas.
My opinion is that this sort of ecotourism can help tiger population but it definitely has to be regulated more strictly, meaning that tigers have to have enough room just for themselves so they feel like they are in the wildness. Without strictly regulated ecotourism I really fear to what could happen to tiger population in India because to poor people in India poaching may seem like a rather profitable business.
Poverty is the reason why India definitely needs money from ecotourism though ecotourism alone won't be enough. India needs combination of ecotourism with much stricter wildlife laws and sustainable management of parks under the guidance of scientists. Only under these conditions tigers in India will have the decent chance to survive.