Periodic shutting of national parks is beneficial for animals

Context: The decision of Uttarakhand government to allow all year opening of two tiger reserves for tourist has been criticized by many experts. They believe that the move will disturb the ecological balance of the forest.  

  • Uttarakhand forest minister announced that the state’s two Tiger Reserves — Corbett and Rajaji — would now remain open for tourism.   
  • The statement has sparked a debate with many warning that tourism activities in the rainy season will disturb tigers in their mating season.  
Impact of all year opening on breeding 
  • The breeding season will not be impacted as tigers breed throughout the year.   
  • In India, if there is any seasonal bias for mating, observational evidence suggests it is towards the autumn-spring window. The rainy season is not the best time for tiger breeding.  
  • Similar is the case for the elephants. A high number of births among elephants have been observed in the winter months of November-January in India.    
General reasons for periodic shutting parks:  

Generally, the reserves remain closed to tourists during the monsoon for 4-5 months every year. It is due to the following reasons: – 

  • First, A tropical forest is least accessible during the monsoons, with lush undergrowth blocking movements and gullies washing away tracks. This is why even the trophy hunters term the rainy months as the off-season that allows the animal population to recover.  
  • For instance, high monsoon in Assam forces Kaziranga National Park to stay practically shut for six months between May and October.  
  • Second, the policy of shutting down a wildlife park is driven by weather across the world.   
  • For instance, Yellowstone, the first national park in the US, and also the world, shuts every winter in the snow season.   
  • Nagarhole and Bandipur Tiger Reserves of Karnataka shut to tourists in the dry summer season to protect animals from stress and the forests from fire.  
  • Third, shutting is essential for the protection of tourists as well. In 2019, heavy monsoon rain in the seasonal Dhangarhi nallah swept away a tourist car.  
  • Fourth, a peaceful breeding season maintains the ecological balance between species. It is required to maintain a food chain. 
  • Fifthpoachers consider the monsoon an opportunity to hunt tiger as the forest guards struggle to patrol much of the reserve. Due to this, the Project Tiger has always emphasized enhanced vigilance during the monsoon. 

SourceIndian Express    

Print Friendly and PDF