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India's Top Court Bans Tourism in Tiger Reserves

A three-year-old tiger rests in the sun at India's Sariska Tiger Reserve in the western state of Rajasthan.
India's Supreme Court has banned tourism in tiger reserves throughout the country in an attempt to protect the endangered animal.

The court also announced penalties Tuesday against six states - Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra and Jharkhand - for failure to comply with an earlier order to create buffer zones around tiger habitats.

Wasim Kadri, a lawyer with the National Tiger Conservation Authority, told reporters, "the court also imposed a fine of 10,000 rupees ($178) because states had not filed affidavit despite the court ordering twice before."

The Supreme Court ruling came in response to a petition filed by Indian conservationist Ajay Dubey claiming that states had allowed commercial development, including hotel construction, near the core area of tiger reserves.

India is home to nearly 50 percent of the 3,500 world's tiger population today.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.