Nov 23, 2016

Changing Hearts and Minds to Protect Wild Tigers

We're reaching out to change hearts and minds
We're reaching out to change hearts and minds

Education plays a key role in all the projects that we fund and a recent survey conducted among participants of our education programme in Thailand has helped reinforce our belief that children play a major role in the survival of endangered species like the tiger:

  • 99% of the students reached showed a positive attitude to wildlife
  • 95% wished to participate in further conservation outreach activities
  • 64% said they are actively applying their new knowledge in their daily lives
  • 96% agreed that they felt that wildlife and environmental protection was everyone's responsbility  

In the last year, the programme reached over 3,000 students, 123 teachers and 29 schools and with such great feedback the team is now working with teachers to develop local curricula for a 'Teachers for Forests' project.

Many of the children we connect with are the children of poachers and would-be poachers, so delivering a strong message on the value of wildlife and wild habitats is crucial. They in turn take the message home to their families and spread the word. And, when just $6 (£5) can buy materials for an endangered species workshop for 90 children the return on investment is not only huge but truly inspiring!

We want to reach more children and teachers. We want to spread the word that protecting precious wildlife and wild resources is fundamental to a long-term, sustainable future for Thailand's precious tigers and with your help we can do just that.

Sep 26, 2016

Weaving tigers into the fabric of society

Goats as part of the Karbi Tribe programme
Goats as part of the Karbi Tribe programme

Tigers have always been part of the fabric of Indian society. Revered as gods for their life-giving presence - a presence that protects vital forests, water courses and, in turn, a myriad of other species - tigers have always held a special place among those who live close to them.

But, increasing pressure on tiger habitats and the illegal trade in tiger parts is pushing tigers towards extinction and those who once protected and reverred them are sometimes tempted by the short-term rewards that poaching can bring.

Key to our tiger protection work in Assam is engaging the local community, including ex-poachers and providing alternative streams of income to try and dissuade communities from hunting. 

One of these schemes is the goat scheme. This really simple programme works by donating two goats - a male and a female - to a family. When the goats breed two kids must be returned to the scheme to be given to another family. The remaining goats can be kept for breeding, milk or to sell thus providing the family with an on-going, sustainable income.

The scheme started in 2015 with 40 goats and focused on the Karbi Hill Tribe. With a stong hunting tradition the aim was to move the tribe away from their regular hunting - which was depleting key prey sources for tigers - and to give them an alternative and sustainable living. 

As well as providing the goats your support helps cover vaccinations and four monthly visits to check on the health of the animals. As the scheme grows it will embrace over 300 families and greatly reduce the loss of prey species available for the precious tigers populations in the area.

This same tribe has also been provided with a loom and training so that the women can weave traditional cloth that can be sold in the local markets. 

Together we are providing the tools that are literally weaving tigers back into the heart of society. So, a huge thank you from the team for helping us make these simple schemes so effective in protecting one of the world's most iconic animals.

Weaving tigers back into the community
Weaving tigers back into the community
Community projects are protecting wild tigers
Community projects are protecting wild tigers

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Jun 29, 2016

Education Protecting Wild Tigers

Reaching children around Assam's national parks
Reaching children around Assam's national parks

Protecting tigers in the wild is about much more than regular anti-poaching patrols. It's about changing hearts and minds, helping every stakeholder appreciate the value, not just of wild tigers but of wild spaces, for them, their communities and for the future. For over twenty years the team at DSWF have been working with Assamese conservationists to find the right balance between park protection, community outreach, undercover intelligence and education in the battle to save the tiger.

Since 2007 the Nature Orientation Programme has been engaging children from the fringe villages around Assam's national parks. Students are selected from families living below the poverty line, those who have been involved in human-wildlife conflicts and those from areas most effected by poaching or close to ecologically important sites.

The aims are to create awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation, to nurture a group of enthusiastic young conservationists who return to their families and friends to spread a positive message of conservation and who help others develop skills for taking up conservation efforts in the future.

In 2015, 80 students joined the programme.The three day course, run by ten staff and volunteers, revolves around field work (to gain an appreciation of wild places and wildlife) and learning through drama and conservation workshops. One of the students, a boy from a family whose cattle had been attacked by tigers, was reluctant to join the programme but at the end of the three days was even more reluctant to leave! He returned to his family with a positive attitude and some simple ideas about how to prevent wildlife conflict in the future. One of the simplest was to ensure that domestic dogs were kept on leashes during times of flooding in the park so that they would not chase and kill deer (important tiger food) fleeing from the rising water levels.

The alumni of the 2015 programme (and those from other years) still meet to discuss ways to spread awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation and many have gone on to study conservation at university. Along with the children from over 70 schools who are visited by the Rhino and Tiger Goes to School programme, these young people are the conservationists of the future taking on the baton of responsibility to protect what is too precious to lose. 

Thanks to your generous support we can continue to reach out to young people and help to change the hearts and minds that will ultimately protect what we all hold dear. And, when you consider that just £50 ($66) can help us reach 300 children, we think you'll agree that it is money very well spent.

Younger children enjoy meeting the wild animals
Younger children enjoy meeting the wild animals
Changing hearts and minds
Changing hearts and minds

Links:

 
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