The Uttarakhand forest department will soon come up with guidelines for elephant safaris in buffer areas of tiger reserves, according to chief wildlife warden DVS Khati.
In the absence of guidelines, the Corbett Tiger Reserve, which was allowing elephant safaris stopped them in 2017 after a wild tusker attacked two elephants of the forest department.
The comprehensive guidelines will be applicable in all protected forest areas in the state, Khati said.
Understanding the appeal of elephant safaris, forest officials proposed to chief minister TS Rawat during a recent meeting of the State Board for Wildlife that the safaris be resumed, according to Khati.
Rawat immediately directed the officers to prepare a policy in this regard.
“The policy will give clear directions to private elephant owners about the time and limitations (of safaris). This is going to boost tourism,” Khati said.
According to the guidelines, each private elephant will be allowed to take three rides in the morning and afternoon. All owners will have to register their elephants with the department and also provide a medical certificate which also mentions the vaccination history of the animal.
“It’s a good move and will promote tourists to stay here for a longer period of time. Elephant safaris could be one of the star attractions in tiger reserves,” said Hari Singh Mann, president of the local hotel and resort association in Ramnagar. Meanwhile, the forest department plans to acquire more elephants from Karnataka for safaris. (Hindustan Times)