Supporting training for tiger reserve managers in India on green religious pilgrimage
M Soubadra Devy
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which oversees the Tiger reserve network in the country, has suggested guidelines for regulated wildlife tourism, especially related to its impact on the tiger populations. NTCA guidelines state that every Tiger reserve draws a plan of action to manage and regulate religious tourism. However, guidelines on managing and regulating pilgrims to temples within such reserves have not received proper attention. The guidelines in their present form do not elaborate on the nuances as they are not based on any case studies.
ATREE initiated its long-term engagement in Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) to mitigate the impacts of annual religious gatherings during temple festivals, which served as an exemplar for other reserves. Learnings therein offered scope to scale up to other tiger reserves.
We have developed the first-ever comprehensive guidelines that provide concrete suggestions and strike a balance between conservation and religious and cultural considerations to successfully manage religious tourism inside tiger reserves.
The guidelines on Green Pilgrimage for Tiger Reserve Managers in India can be widely shared nationally and internationally through the NTCA, ATREE, WWF and other partners. Workshops and capacity-building tiger reserve managers are planned to help integrate best practices on green pilgrimage into their tiger reserve management plans.