There is a good news for wildlife enthusiasts as government is going to resume elephant safari from 1 November in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh. The safari was suspended last year to contain the spread of Covid-19. It was feared that the tourists could pass on the virus to the animals. The elephant safari is one of the prime attractions in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. A ride atop an elephant is the best way to spot rhinos. Forest department officials expect tourist footfalls to go up as compared to the previous years. “All the roads inside Dudhwa Tiger Reserve have been repaired and we are expecting a better tourist turnout this season as the previous one came to an abrupt end because of the coronavirus,” said Sanjay Pathak, field director, DTR.
Dudhwa Tiger Reserve normally remains open from November to June. Last year, almost 38,000 tourists visited the reserve forest, before it was shut, generating a revenue of over Rs 75 lakh. Giving details about the safari, Pathak said, “Two dedicated elephants will be deployed for giving tourists a tour of the area where rhinos live. Each elephant will carry four tourists on its back along with the mahout.”
“The price per tourist has been revised to Rs 500 this season. It is more convenient to sight rhinos from an elephant’s back as compared to vehicles because the pachyderms can negotiate through the swampy land amid the tall grass,” he added. The duration of a safari would be over one hour till the group spots rhinos in the protected area. The timings of the elephant safari will be from early morning to 10 a.m. Thereafter, the elephants are given time to rest before the evening session. A dedicated meditation hall has also come up following the feedback received from tourists. Talking about the Tharu community, Pathak said: “People of the Tharu community have expressed their wish to serve their cuisine to the tourists this season as well.”
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Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is spread over an expanse of approximately 811 sq km of marshes, grasslands and dense forests, is an ideal and protected home for over 38 species of mammals, 16 species of reptiles and numerous species of birds. Tiger, Rhinoceros, Swamp deer, Elephant, Sambar, Hog deer, Cheetal, Kakar, Wild pig, Rhesus monkey, Langur, Sloth bear, Blue bull, Porcupine, Otter, Turtles, Python, Monitor lizard, Mugger, Gharial etc.
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