Managing a wildlife/tiger conservation center is not an easy task. There are a large number of people required with ability and skill sets. The tiger reserve employees are from the state forest department. There are various level of temporary employment for people not directly employed by the forest dept.
People we are more familiar with are the park guides who accompany us during the tiger safari. These are on temporary employment perhaps on daily basis; some may find permanent employment in the department. The guide fee has now gone up to Rs.200 per visit per day. In order to make an excursion in the park hiring a guide is a must you cannot enter without one. The guide is assigned at the park gate you cannot choose as per your wish.
The guides usually act as beat guards whence the park is closed. They are the most knowledgeable about the routes that the reserve is divided into. They are also knowledgeable about the animals of the reserve. Some of the guides are expert in birding as well. The tourists depend upon them for discovering animals and birds in order to make their sightings successful.
There are behind the seen operators which are visible to the tourists at times. These are park rangers, deputy rangers and foresters. The latter you will often see at the jungle huts in the forests used for patrolling and fire fighting. These are the front line sentinels of the preserve. The park rangers supervise the range and the activities taking place. It is a responsible job and assignments are given to the deputy. You can see the park ranger during the tiger show whence he supervises the event.
The DFO and the Field Director are the top echelon of the park management. Complete control is with the FD with maximum powers. The DFO (Divisional Forest Officer) is more active in the field along with deputies.
There are people at the gate which manage tourists’ entry. The park excursion takes place on open jeeps. These have to be registered with the Park office that allots a number to the vehicle.
Elephant riders and their junior staff are trained to conduct elephant safaris. They also play a crucial role in patrolling during the monsoon, whence the slush hampers vehicle movement. The park is also patrolled with anti poaching vehicles which are specially designed for the task.
Lot of labor is involved in building of the infrastructure of the park. These are local people who earn a living from the employment offered by the preserve management. These are not employed on daily basis and you can see them working on the roads doing manual work.
Thanks to conservation efforts and tourism a lot of people find subsistence from the tiger reserves. The impetus is on employing tribal and other local community members as a principle of responsible management and tourism.