A controversial ban on tourism in over 40 over India's tiger reserves has been extended by the Supreme Court until late September.
Tourism to the 'core' areas of the state-run parks was banned in July amid fears that it was threatening the tigers, already in danger of extinction. There are currently only around 1,700 left in the country.
Though most reserves are currently closed for the summer, the ban could start to affect tourists planning trips in the October peak season. The Supreme Court has ordered the government to set up a committee to examine the long-term effects of a tourist ban to tiger reserves.
The court is expected to give a final decision on 27 September, and would affect some parks more heavily than others. Certain parks have already made the decision to ban tourism in areas where tigers are most commonly found.
The controversy comes from experts' split opinions on the subject. Some believe that tourism is further endangering the animals, whilst others have criticised the ban which they believe will put the animals at greater risk.
Julian Matthews, chairman of Travel Operators for Tigers, told the Telegraph last month "Without tourism you get corruption and neglect instead of accountability, media and political scrutiny, NGO support, and better protection through the eyes and ears of guardians and community stakeholders." He added that tourism protects the reserves from loggers and poachers.
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