Under the existing guidelines and rules of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the states have to notify the list of core and buffer areas of tiger reserves in their respective jurisdictions.
As per the guidelines, buffer zones are the areas which lie in the periphery of core areas, also known as critical tiger habitats. Tiger breeding takes place in core areas which are meant to be kept free of any disturbance, including tourism. The buffer zones constitute the fringe areas of tiger reserves up to a distance of 10 kms. There are an estimated over 1,700 tigers in the country. A bench of justices Swatanter Kumar and Ibrahim Kalifulla had earlier warned of initiation of contempt proceedings and imposition of exemplary costs on states which fail to notify the buffer zones in their respective tiger reserves. The apex court had said despite its earlier directions of April 4 and July 10, several states have failed to notify buffer zones in their respective reserves to regulate commercialisation of revenue land around big cat habitats and help preserve the endangered species. The apex court had also imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on Andhra Pradesh and several other states for not complying with its directions.
"We make it clear that till final directions are issued by this court, the core zones or core areas in the tiger reserves will not be used for tourism," the bench had said.