From what I said earlier, you get an idea of how well-managed the Nagarhole National Park is. To entertain such vast numbers of animals requires constant vigilance against poaching, illegal hunting, human impact, cattle grazing and so on. Furthermore, to provide such an eden for wildlife against rising tides of human activity, want for commercialization, and locals’ agricultural needs, is no easy task. Yet Karnataka’s government, Nagarhole’s forest department, and the park’s surrounding tourism clique, have excelled at this.
Poaching is at an all-time low, which, considering the amount of ivory contained in Kabini’s elephant congregation, is remarkable; the villagers, being voluntarily re-located outside of the park since 1972 through incentives including 1 crore rupees, one or two acres of land, and a home, are now a volunteer militia corps that safeguard the park from poachers and commercialization (Recently, a Taj resort opened in the National Park, but was forced to close due to the riots and protests of locals on its opening day); and tourism has remained beneficial and eco-friendly under the covenant of Responsible Tourism of 2002, providing a steady trickle of income to the national park, and financing local schools, which, among other things, teach children the value of wildlife, whilst maintaining proper sighting etiquette and respect for the animals. In other parks I have visited, tigers are swarmed by hordes of loud and disruptive jeeps which maraud way too close to the animals’ habitats in want of a better sighting, and, in turn, a better tip.
At the front of Nagarhole’s responsible tourism drive is Orange County. The resort combines comfort with a wildlife obsession that I must say is quite addictive; if you aren’t a wildlife fanatic upon your arrival, you will be by the time you leave. How Orange County accomplishes this is simple.
Whenever you are on safari, your naturalist’s face constantly beams with anticipation and excitement. Whenever you return from safari, you’re surrounded by everyone as if you’re some veteran, and asked all about your sightings. At some of my photos of Nagarhole’s more elusive celebrities, there have been shouts of happiness and applause.
The entire community, guest and staff, is linked by a love for the wild that transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries. That is why I have loved my stay here, and urge you to come end experience the simultaneous tranquility and excitement of Kabini for yourself!
No one can tell what the future will bring, but I have every confidence that Nagarhole’s current practices are as sustainable as can be. If every other national park and wildlife sanctuary adopted her techniques and philosophies (which many across all of South Asia are beginning to do), there is hope that the most majestic of mammals, the Bengal Tiger, can survive the modern world.