NAGPUR: In an added attraction for tourists, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district will restart elephant safari started in November.
“Elephant safari was stalled around one-and-half-year ago after a Kerala high court banned use of performing animals unless a certificate from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) was obtained,” said Mukul Trivedi, chief conservator of forests (CCF) & field director of TATR.
Tadoba has two elephants — a male named Gajraj and a female Lakshmi, both are 30-year-old. “Both the tuskers are used for patrolling and protection and are not performing animals,” said Trivedi.
Tadoba is following the tourism model of neighboring Kanha and Pench tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh. However, field director of Kanha Sanjay Shukla says, “Elephant safari was banned in 2012, after hue and cry over how tigers were put to stress by cornering them to showcase the tourists. Now we are using elephants for a joyride and not to sight tigers.” Shukla said it is elephant ride for 30 minutes on a fixed route and tigers are not tracked now as was done earlier.
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Trivedi says, in Tadoba it would be a similar kind of joyride. The elephants will be used for tourism between 7 and 10am & 4 to 6pm. The safari fee for one hour has been fixed at Rs1,000 per adult and Rs500 per child below 12 years. For foreigners the charges would be double.
Four persons along with a mahout will be allowed on the howdah. The safari will be available offline on first-come-first basis at Mohurli gate. The distance covered would be 10km towards Telia and back.”Now those disappointed with not getting a jeep safari have a chance to sight tigers and rich wildlife in Telia.