Wildlife tourism is one of the fastest growing Industry in India and all over the World. As science progresses and awareness about our vital eco-systems spreads wildlife and nature become front line words. Thanks to electronic media there is now a wide spread awareness about the natural World and its wild inhabitants.
The endangered tiger is one of the keystone species of Indian jungles and is a tertiary carnivore in the food chain. Being the apex or the indicator species its presence fore tells the health of forest ecosystems where it inhabits. In most parts of the World where tiger was found it is severely endangered and in places extinct.
For the tiger there is a thin line dividing survival and extinction in current scenario as natural wealth in plundered and deforestation, poaching and mining take upper hand due to human greed and apathy.
Barely two thousand or less Bengal tigers survive in India and most of them in tiger reserves and National Parks. The tigers outside these protected areas are severely stressed and may not survive for long. The curiosity about this big cat is phenomenal especially the white tiger is much a subject of discussion along with mystic and myths associated with it. The great carnivore now makes its last stand in India and obviously there is a great rush of nature lovers, tourists and wildlife photographers who wish to sight this magnificent cat.
Most of the tiger safari in India takes place in tiger reserves as there are greater number of tigers and other animals present here. The reserves have excellent tourism infrastructure and the best places to see tiger are Kanha National Park in MP, Pench National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park in Central India. Other places to see tigers in the wild are Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttranchal and Periyar in Kerala State in India.
The tiger safaris are very well organized in National Parks or Tiger Reserve and there is a good chance to see the tiger here. These places are excellent birding destinations and hold lots of mammalian species as well as hordes of insects and reptiles in India. Among the major mammals are the Bengal tiger, leopard, gaur, wild dog, barasingha or swamp Deer, sambar deer and the spotted deer which constitutes the main prey base of the tigers.
Most of the tiger safaris are organized on jeeps which traverse through the jungle roads and offer exciting view of the forests and tigers and wild animals which are met during the exploration. There parks which offer elephant safaris in India for wildlife watching. Tiger shows are short duration elephant rides which ferry a tourist from his jeep to the spot where the tiger has been previously cordoned and back. Exploration on foot is usually not permitted in tiger reserves as the carnivores can prove a threat to life in case of a sudden encounter in the wilderness.
Best season for tiger safari is between October to May. Since the June monsoon rains arrive making it difficult to drive through the parks. However the parks close on 31st June onwards.
Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench are reachable from Jabalpur while Ranthambhore is near Jaipur and Corbett can be reached from New Delhi.