Lucknow, Jan 7 (IANS) Union Minister for Corporate and Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid Friday expressed the need for opening core areas in wildlife parks to tourists.
Speaking at the 'Billy Arjan Singh Memorial Convention', organised by NGO Tiger and Terrain on the noted wildlife enthusiast's first death anniversary here, Khurshid said that opening of core areas to tourists would go a long way in curbing poaching.
He, however, noted that 'entry to core areas must be strictly regulated and some criterion need to be laid down to allow such entry'.
Wildlife enthusiasts at the convention earlier sought to draw the minister's attention to the fact that the core areas of wildlife parks and sanctuaries had turned into the safe haven for poachers.
'Since there were not enough functionaries and those too inadequately equipped, core areas remained unfrequented even by the staff, with the result that poacher gangs could easily slip in and carry out their nefarious activities,' Tiger and Terrain secretary Kaushlendra Singh said.
His views found favour with the minister, who is himself a wildlife enthusiast.
Ranjit Bhargava, who has been honoured with Padmashri for his wildlife conservation work, stressed on the need for diversion of a rail track and a highway from a 25 km stretch of Uttar Pradesh's Dudhwa National Park, the second largest wildlife reserve after the world famous Corbett Park in Uttarakhand in north India.
Former Uttar Pradesh chief conservator of forests Gian Chand Misra expressed deep concern over the dwindling numbers of deer, which is the favoured food of tigers.
Most speakers felt that the official tiger count was 'highly inflated'. However, Misra was of the view that fudging of tiger figures would come to an end once the modern counting system based on DNA match is introduced in all the parks.