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Unruly tourists create ruckus at Nagzira sanctuary
Violation of rules at wildlife sanctuaries, sometime, creates nuisance to an extent that it endangers the animals too. The worst example of it, was recently witnessed at the Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, in Maharashtra.

OVER 120 unruly tourists created ruckus in the core area of Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary (Maharashtra) on the evening of May 11. They blew horns and played music systems in their vehicles. The incident brought to the light lapses in security systems at the wildlife sanctuary.

Nagzira is home to rich flora and fauna including tigers and leopards. Over 30,000 tourists frequent Nagzira every year. Though it is a haven for nature and wildlife lovers, the rising cases of breach of conduct at the sanctuary pose danger to rare and exotic animals in their natural habitat.

Gaurav Pashine, wildlife activist of Bhandara Nature Club, narrates the entire scene that took place between Andharban and Wakdabeheda stretch of Nagzira. As there is no waterhole in this stretch of three kilometre area, it is like a transit for animals. "At about 6.15pm, we spotted a tigress crossing the road," said Pashine, adding, "But, we spotted two cubs, coming from behind the tigress and stopped there only."

What happened later, was the mischief of the unruly tourists. They came from behind, overtook them and parked their vehicle near the tigress. Pashine and other activists, including Narendra Gurjar, Shailendra Rajpoot, Jivanlal Nagori and Sanjay Chichmalkar along with Pitezari gate guide, Ramchandra appealed to them and guided to come back and let the cubs cross the road to meet the tigress.

The tourists retorted with abuses and we were helpless. Even the guides of Chorkhamara gate encouraged them to dismount from their vehicle and have a close look. The tourists dismounted from their vehicles and captured the tigress in their digital cameras and mobile cameras.

Over 120 tourists went haywire with the sighting of the tigress and began playing music systems. "Moving further, they sounded their horns loudly, and pelted stones at the tigress, seated under a tree," informed Pashine. He also showed the mobile footage of the ruckus, which displays how the vehicles, having reverse horns are allowed in the wildlife sanctuary. The vehicles are allowed inside up to 7pm only but on May 11, the vehicles were released from the gate at 7.30pm.

On Sundays, the number of tourists rises significantly. Even the guides of Chorkhamara gate encourage tourists to park their vehicles close to waterholes.

When asked about the incident, Pathan, in-charge at Pitezari gate, said that the Pitezari gate lies in Bhandara district and the sanctuary is under jurisdiction of Gondia forest.

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