The rise in tiger population has led to more number of tourists visiting the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR). During the last tourist year, over 38,000 persons including 10,000 foreigners visited PTR.
“Around 38,545 tourists visited PTR in the tourism year 2016-17 that ended on June 30. The tourists included 28,079 Indians and 10,466 foreigners. “This has become possible due to the rise in tiger population and increasing tourist facilities,” PTR’s field director Vivek Jain said.
Taking into account the beginning of rainy season, entry of tourists to the main reserve has been prohibited from June 30. Earlier, in 2009 a study conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India had revealed a grim picture of tiger population as not a single tiger was left in the PTR and most of them had fallen prey to poaching.
However, now the number of tigers in the reserve has swelled to 35 which has also brought cheer to wildlife enthusiasts. Earlier on July 5, a mobile video, showing three tigers sauntering out of the PTR’s core area, went viral on social media. The motorists driving on Panna-Katni highway had shot this video, in which three tigers were seen crossing the road.
The Madhya Pradesh government had then started a programme under which tigers from other reserves were translocated to Panna. Population of the big cat in reserve has steadily grown since then. “The number of tigers in PTR has now risen to about 35 after the reintroduction programme was launched in 2009. This number is not static as the tigers move out of the reserve to adjoining areas of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve besides birth of cubs also takes place,” Jain said.
He added that an international tourism website has chosen Panna Tiger Reserve for the Award for Excellence for 2017 for the second year in a row.