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    What NOT to do on a Wildlife Safari!

    

    It’s a happy sign that many around these days, travel to experience the wilderness and encounter the wildlife. Happy in the sense that the love for the jungles is increasing. Happy in the sense that these jungle experiences might change people’s outlook towards the wild animals and the nature, in general.

    However, the experience says otherwise. People think of ‘Corbetts’ or ‘Ranthambores’ more of either a party place to get wasted on weekends, or some zoo where the great Tiger will jump out of the bushes for their Facebook selfie. But. not the people are to be blamed solely. They do not have the right picture painted anywhere. Here is an attempt to get some things right!

    Any activity inside or around the wild habitats, even the ones with positive intentions, one way or the other, is a deviation from the natural way of life. However, if there has to be an interference (activity) in the jungles, it better be the positive ones.

    Before Anything, First we should know that Why One Should NOT Travel to the National Parks?

    1. For a Weekend Booze Party.
      You travel, you burn fuel. You party, you create unnecessary waste. You smoke, again disturb such delicate environment. Loud music, the last thing one can do in or around a national park.
      Tip: Burn your money in Delhi / NCR with so many awesome pubs around.
    2. Don’t visit to sight a Tiger. Cherish the nature.
      Yes, Tigers are perhaps the most majestic creatures on this planet. The classy stripes, the elegant walk, the royal growl. There are few creatures who can walk on the land with such pride. But, we should remind ourselves national parks are not zoos. It’s their homes and they live on their own terms. Tiger sighting is a rarest of the things and that’s the best of the parts. We are very lucky just to be inside the jungle, to visit their home, where they live and rule everything around. It took me at least 12 safaris to sight my first Tiger. Yes, the adrenaline was high but the earlier eleven were equally awesome!
      Tip: Even do not visit the zoos. They cage animals.
    3. To be part of the ‘holy’ Fairs and Festivals.
      India is the land of temples. So, every major national park has one or another temple inside or around the park. Every year fairs or festivals are held which are of historic importance to the locals and it’s celebrated in much funfair. If you’re not historically related to the event please do not throng to the park. The thinner it’ll be, the better it’ll be, for the wildlife.
      Tip: Travel to Varanasi or the Himalayas for salvation.

    Now, the Important, What NOT To-Do when in the National Park Area?

    1. Drive Fast.
      Animals have the first right to pass through the roads, yes, even those outside the safari zones! Drive slow and enjoy the nature around.
      Tip: Look around for any movement, you never know which animal may be waiting for a nice click.
    2. Honk. Honk.
      All park area and around is under a no honking zone. Please be patient. Do not rush. And you’ll then not scare the lovely creatures away.
    3. Litter Around.
      Description not required. That’s something you shouldn’t do, like anywhere.
    4. Break Park Rules.
      Every park has a certain set of rules. Rules related to timings, entry restrictions, or certain do’s and don’ts. Do try to get them beforehand and obey them to its core even if there is no official around.
    5. Choose Your Stay Uninformed.
      Some places are Eco-friendly and some are simply rubbish money-minting houses. Be it a home stay or a luxury resort, read through it’s detailed information, reviews, it’s contribution to the local community around, extent to which it follows park ethics and guidelines and you’ll land at a place which is less disturbing to the nature.

      Tip: Just ask the hotel, if they can arrange a DJ party in open? If the answer is yes, your decision should be NO!

    6. Unnecessary Consumption of the Natural Resources like Water.
      Most of the parks at least in some seasons are water deficient and water table of almost all is depleting at a very high pace. Biggest contributor is of course the resorts. Try not using swimming pools or indulging in anything that deviates water from the jungle use to human use.

    What NEVER To-Do on your Jungle Safari?

    In a Jungle Safari, be it on jeep, canter or your own drive, you’re right in the middle of untroubled (supposedly) nature. Here you should be all the more extra careful.

    1. Smoke or Light Fire.
      Smoking is injurious we all know but here it’s more than health reasons. It’s a huge risk to light fire or smoke in the forests as a small spark can lead to a huge forest fire in minutes and can lead to destruction of wildlife in big numbers and also destroy irreplaceable habitat.
    2. Litter Around.
      Any waste you litter around is an exotic addition to the environment. The harm it causes to the nature is unimaginable and cumulative effect through the food chain is exponential.
    3. Try Feeding the Animals.
      Please note those are not pet animals, they live on their own and die of the survival struggle or natural causes. Any interference is highly prohibited. Even if you find any animal in pain or need, inform the park official or the wildlife guide accompanying you.
    4. Step-out of the Vehicle.
      No, you simple cannot walk inside the jungle. You aren’t totally safe even inside the vehicle. Even a few seconds on foot can prove fatal.
    5. Be Loud or Play Music.
      Jungle is peaceful, let it be so.
    6. Disturb the Guide or Driver.
      Please do not ask guide or driver for undue requests to drive fast, stay longer than permitted, drive too close to animals, or enter restricted areas.
    7. Wear Bright Clothing.
      Please wear dull, dark clothing that will camouflage you with the environment. Bright clothes are a distraction to the animals.
    8. Flash the animals or get Too Close to them.
      Capturing nature and wildlife is good but to indulge in activities that disturb animals like use of flash, getting too close to them, creating fake calls should be absolutely restrained.
    9. Expect Wild Animals to be Running and Jumping along to Greet you!

    Remember, it’s never about sighting the animals. It’s about being a part of them, experiencing what’s like to be in their land. Understandably, sighting one is a charm but greater is tracking one around!

    Tried my best to highlight important and small things that we miss out on our wildlife adventure. Please let us know if you find it useful and add more points in the comments box!

    AND, just enjoy the music of the nature, the magnificent wilderness and the beautiful game! Cheers… 🙂

    Image Courtesy – Prakash Kandpal

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