Published: 05th January 2021
Here's why this naturalist from Odisha thinks that wildlife tourism will see a spike now
Recently, Durgesh Kumar Singh he was rewarded by the Madhya Pradesh Tiger Foundation Society for his contribution to wildlife photography. His pictures are indeed double-tap worthy. Check it out
It's time for wildlife tourism to shine, especially with people shunning crowded places and escaping into forests (à la some Bollywood celebrities who did the same for New Year's). "The other novelty that wildlife offers is a break from city life," reminds Durgesh Kumar Singh, a naturalist and the founder of Myristica Tours, a company that designs tours. "The wildlife in Odisha has two aspects. First is the popular sites like Satkosia Tiger Reserve and Simlipal National Park. But I personally recommend other, lesser-known places - Bhitarkanika National Park for saltwater crocodiles, the shores of Rushikulya for olive ridley nesting and hatching, Bichitrapur for its mangroves, fishing cats and smaller wildlife and so on," says the 38-year-old.
When it comes to wildlife tourism, it's the big animals like tigers and leopards that attract tourists and Odisha is for those who have seen them all and are looking for more. "It is definitely still the best-kept secret," says Durgesh who has worked with Taj Safaris at various locales across India. And those who do opt for wildlife tourism are not exactly looking for luxury. Clean sheets and hygienic food is what they need because they are going to be outdoors most of the time anyway. So indeed, this is the perfect time for wildlife tourism to see the spurt it has been waiting for. "The lockdown affected my clientele, those who have the time and the money to explore. But we are positive things will pick up soon," says Durgesh who pursued IT from KIIT in 2005. "We have our own bouquet to offer which is very different from the Kanha Tiger Reserve and the Ranthambore National Park and people are slowly realising it," he says.
He was part of the Waterfalls of Odisha project as well
But how many of us are aware of all this, really? Durgesh realises this and wants to change things. Hence, he is currently developing educational material that will help spread awareness and educate the next generation about the treasure trove that is Odisha. But it's too early to get into the details of it now, so he continues to tell us what else kept him occupied during the lockdown. He delivered quite a few webinars like the one conducted by Global Discovery Schools and aced a forest quiz conducted by the Forest Department of Karnataka.
Durgesh and the two bird species he reported:
- Thick-billed green pigeon: Usually found in Simlipal, he photographed it at Satkosia and its proved range extension
- Yellow-bellied warbler: He was the first to report this bird in Odisha back in 2009
For more on him, check out myristicatours.com