It’s taken a while, but we are starting to see India bookings trickling in again as the country re-opens to travellers after the pandemic. And whilst we cannot wait to get back to showing our groups around the Taj Mahal, taking in the chaos of Delhi and heading up to some lofty hill stations, we are also excited to resume our tiger safaris in Ranthambore National Park, one of the best places in India to see this amazing big cat in the wild. While the human species has had a difficult couple of years, it’s been a great time for tiger conservation in India.
Tiger Conservation in India
After a commitment called TX2 was made in 2010 by all countries home to wild tigers, India has incredibly managed to double its wild tiger population in just 12 years! And numbers are still rising! Nepal has also managed to double its tiger population, and there has been good progress in Russia, China and Bhutan. But India is home to the largest tiger population, so this progress is most important. Better habitat protection, an expansion of protected areas and a crackdown on poaching have all helped India to achieve this success. In fact, tigers are having to be relocated from some parks. This is because the populations have grown too large to sustain themselves! With our India tours resuming, we hope to be a part of the further recovery of Indian tiger populations.
In India, we work with Travel Operators For Tigers (TOFTigers), an organization that encourages sustainable ecotourism in the tiger parks of India. Tourists bring in crucial funding that is used to expand tiger protections. And it’s been a tough couple of years since travel dried up. TOFTigers do incredibly important work, both in helping to improve tiger numbers directly and to bring in the tourists that help to support tiger conservation in India financially. They also help local businesses, including hotels and lodges, to achieve PUG certification – a measure of sustainability.
We have been working with TOFTigers for 15 years, and we feel like now is a good time to reconfirm our commitment to this incredible cause, especially since there is real momentum and progress in boosting wild tiger numbers.
For every passenger who travels on one of our group tours to Ranthambore National Park, we donate to TOFTigers.
We have donated nearly £50,000 to TOFTigers since our relationship began, and we are looking to grow this number significantly as our tiger tours to India take off again.
Our India tiger tours
Our most popular India tiger tour is the aptly named Shere Khan. This 10-day group tour takes in all the main highlights of India’s famous Golden Triangle route. It also includes a stay at Ranthambore. Three included game drives give travellers a great chance of spotting the big cat for themselves. And families travelling on our dedicated North India Family Adventure tour will enjoy two game drives as a family.
Like many of India’s tiger parks, populations have exploded in Ranthambore. A 2021 estimate put the population at 81 tigers. This is up around 20% from 66 in 2019 – just three years ago! In fact, tigers have been so successful that there are now territorial issues. Tigers are often seen fighting due to the lack of space. Authorities are working on relocation plans for some individuals to resolve these problems. But they are better problems to have than not enough tigers!
Our other initiative in India
We also look forward to continuing with our Change for Children initiative in India. Most of our tours visit a local school, where our travellers can meet the students and teachers. We encourage travellers to bring gifts such as stationery to donate to the school. And we also collect unwanted or spare rupees our customers would like to donate. At the Abhaneri Primary School, we helped to fund a female-only toilet block, after male and female students previously had to share a toilet.
Tiger conservation in India is a rare good news story for wildlife. You can find out more about these initiatives and our other sustainable travel programs on our website, and make sure to browse our range of India group tours if you’d like to visit the country for yourself.