New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed its discontent with setting up of zoos and safaris inside tiger reserves and national parks.
It said prima facie it does not appreciate the necessity of zoos inside tiger reserves and national parks and restrained authorities from doing any construction within the core areas notified in tiger reserves, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries.
A bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and Vikram Nath sought reply from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) detailing the necessity of having safaris in national parks. It said that until further orders “we restrain the authorities from doing any construction within the core areas notified in tiger reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries”.
A report by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), a panel constituted by the apex court, was also brought to the notice of the bench.
The CEC asked the Union Environment Ministry to amend or withdraw guidelines related to setting up zoos and safaris within tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. It further sought discontinuation of the use of wildlife habitats for tourism activities which are non-site specific. Also, approvals given for setting up zoos and safaris within tiger reserves and protected areas should be withdrawn forthwith, it added.
The panel, in its report, said the location of such safaris and zoos shall not endanger the life of the natural population and eco-tourism and wildlife education should not be at the cost of survival of the endangered species.
The apex court was hearing a matter connected with alleged illegal constructions in tiger reserves and the establishment of a tiger safari in the buffer area of Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand.
In an application, advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal raised the issue of alleged illegal construction of buildings and water bodies by way of cutting trees illegally in Saneh Forest Rest House towards Pakhrao Forest Rest House etc.
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