Court lifts India's tiger tourism ban

19th Oct 2012

Tourists' hopes of spotting wild tigers in India have been given a boost after a ban on visiting reserves across the country was lifted.

India's Supreme Court ordered a total ban on tourism in tiger reserves in the summer. But the ban has now been lifted after the government announced a raft of new rules aimed at stopping tourism hampering conservation. Local governments will also be asked to continue regulating visitors to tiger reserves.

More than half the world's estimated 3,200 tigers are in India and most of them live in wildlife reserves, which are also home to hundreds of hotels and shops serving wildlife-loving tourists.

The Supreme Court imposed the ban in July, saying it would stay in force until the government introduced new guidelines, after a conservationist said the tigers' under-threat habitats should be protected against all types of human disturbances including tourism.

The ban was criticised by tour and travel operators who said the absence of tourists in the reserves would give a green light to poachers involved in illegal wildlife trafficking.

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