The West Bengal Forest Department has decided to set limits within the different national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the state beyond which the tourists or the safari jeeps carrying them will not be allowed to revel.
The decision was taken in the wake of a charge by two rhinos towards a safari jeep at Jaldapara National Park in Alipurduar district on Saturday following which five tourists, the driver and the helper of the jeep were severely injured as the vehicle lost its balance while moving in reverse.
West Bengal Forest Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick told media persons on Monday that a special committee of senior Forest Department officials will be constituted which will decide the limit to be set for the tourists to revel.
"The committee will also evaluate the reason behind the erratic behaviour of the wild animals. It is to be seen whether they get irritated just because of the teasing by the tourists or there is any other reason behind their erratic behaviour," he said.
Mullick said: "The committee should also decide on the further measures to be taken by the forest authorities to prevent incidences of tourists teasing or irritating the animals.
"This is really a menace. And that is why we are considering setting a limit beyond which the tourists cannot revel," he said.
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He also said that the Forest Department is also considering introducing tourist insurance for those visiting the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the state.
"However, the thinking is at a primary stage and the details on this count will have to be worked out," he said.
The state forest department sources said that the exact reason behind the rhinos suddenly charging at the tourist safari jeep is yet to be ascertained.
"According to eyewitnesses, the two animals were engaged in a fight with each other when the safari jeep reached the nearby road piercing through the jungles. There is a possibility that the jeep then drew attention of the fighting animals and they charged. If that is true also the drivers and the tourists instead of stopping there and capturing the photos and videos of the fighting animals should have moved away from that place," a Forest Department official said.
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