Made this image in bandipur.
"After a fine morning drive, having sighted a leopard in all its glory, the constituents of our vehicle were beaming with happines. However, the drive back to the resort brought everyone back into reality. Very close to the checkpost of Bandipur national park, we saw tourists proceeding towards Ooty feeding bread and jam to a herd of Chital. It has to be noted that off late, the drivers and naturalists of JLR-bandipur have taken the responsibility of patrolling the small length of drive on the highway when on safari. In line with this, our driver halted the jeep and took to verbally beating up the tourists and they took off at once, not giving us a chance to explain them the implications of what they did. In the process, a newspaper and a plastic bag found themselves thrown to ground. A duo of deers, mistaking the trash for food, picked up the same and wandered off into the jungle. End of story, or perhaps, the beginning.
The scene discussed is a fairly common one on the Bandipur-Ooty highway. With thousands of vehicles driving on this stretch every single day, and with majority of them unaware of the importance of preserving nature's gifts, the situation only seems to be worsening. What worries me most is the fact that many of them throwing trash think there is nothing wrong with it. Instead of being anguished and angry, should we see the other side of the coin to realise that these are "regular" tourists and have no idea about wildlife and its abode? What can "we", the "wildlife loving" tourists do to improve the awareness quotient? I am putting down one idea that I think is plausible. I wish to see more ideas pour in and soon one of them materialized.
**"Write to all members of this forum requesting for a small fund that will be used to print pamphlets/brochures that are then to be given [with due permission from the forest dept.] to as many vehicles as possible at the check post/entrance of the national park. I am aware that these pamphlets might find the same fate as the newspaper and plastic bag in the image. To avoid this, the people/driver of each vehicle must be instructed to read through the contents of the pamphlet and return it to the guards at the checkpost at the other end of the forest. If they fail to reproduce the pamphlet at the check post at the end of the forest road, a heavy penalty must be awarded.
What is the benefit of the whole process? Even if a majority 80% of people don't actually read the contents but only return it back at the check post, the minority 20% will have read them and informed themselves of the hazards of littering our forests and the worth of our wilderness [took the liberty of using the 80-20 rule ].
The advantage of asking tourists to give back the pamphlets/brochures would mean that there would be no need to further keep re-printing them on a large scale. Of course, for this, the same method would have to be employed from both check posts so that the pamphlets would be transported free of cost to both ends and also more importantly will cover more tourists.