mid-day impact: Mumbai tour operators cancel travel plans to save the fireflies
Even Bhandup-based Shivdhara Trekkers have cancelled their trip to Rajmachi
Just a day after mid-day reported about the growing concern over high tourist footfall at a number of villages affecting the mating cycle of fireflies and adding to the residents' water woes, a couple of tour organisers from the city cancelled their upcoming visits to Rajmachi and Bhandardara, of which firefly-spotting was one of the key highlights.
Speaking to mid-day, Mohammad Aslam N Saiyad, a city-based photographer who documents urban landscape, said, "A number of friends shared the report on Facebook explaining how such activities disrupt the lives of fireflies. Naturalists going to these areas are not a concern because they know how to conduct themselves. But once I expose regular tourists to these pristine areas, they might want to visit them again on their own without the required knowledge." He further said that he was in the process of refunding the participants' money. Even Bhandup-based Shivdhara Trekkers have cancelled their trip to Rajmachi.
Ecologists have pointed out that campfires, loud music, bright torchlight and flash photography are some of the key problems that come with such tours. And in response to these concerns, the forest department recently issued no-nuisance guidelines.
However, when asked about the inclusion of live music in their itinerary, Nikki Shrivas of 99Hikers says, "Our campsite is at a distance of 20 km from the firefly breeding region in the forest. The live music is of unplugged variety featuring the guitar, congo and a vocalist. We ensure that our actions cause no harm to the flora and fauna." Digvijay Rathore of Mischief Treks says, "While tourists destroy a place, trekkers leave no trail. We should aim to behave like the latter."
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