In a new advertisement, the tourism department of Gujarat government invites tourists to "Race with the beautiful Neelgai, the Indian wolf, Pelicans, the Desert Fox, Greater Flamingos, larks,the Indian Vulture and Wild Ass at Little Rann of Kutch".
Incidentally, all of them are endangered animals.
While the advertisement, that tries to promote Gujarat tourism, asks you to 'come race with' the endangered animals, the act of it is quite likely to put you behind bars.
"The word 'race' sends a wrong message. The Asiatic wild ass is a nearly threatened animal found only in Gujarat. Racing with such endangered creatures will be disastrous as there are chances of injury to the animal or even death," Divya Bhanu Singh Chavda, former member of Nation Board for Wild Life (NBWL) told Times Of India.
As per the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, disturbing the wildlife is a punishable offense. One can be imprisoned for up to six months.
The report says that the wild ass population in the state has reduced to 4,451. The animal was listed as 'nearly threatened' in 2015 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Reacting to the worries of the conservationists, the state tourism board has denied that they had intentions to make the advertisement in the tone in which it is perceived. "We will definitely review this advertisement and make necessary changes," N Srivastava, commissioner for tourism and managing director of Gujarat Tourism told ToI.
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