Jun 8, 2020

Water for Life

Affectionate moment between Tigress & her cub
Affectionate moment between Tigress & her cub

This is possibly one of the hardest project update reports which I have had to write. Three months ago we were filled with optimism that we could raise sufficient funds to complete another major waterhole for wild tigers before the drought season took its toll and before human-tiger conflict peaked. Then came along COVID19, and as you already know it changed everything. Optimism turned to fear, not just for when or even if things would ever return to the normal we knew before, but for the impact on the wild tigers and 10 years of our efforts to give them a wild future.

In spite of the new challenges we face, your collective spirit and generosity has been truly inspiring. Your donations and continued support over the past three months, especially during the Climate Action Campaign, has strengthened our hope that when we pull through this pandemic, wild tigers will still thrive in the jungles of Bandhavgarh, and we will be able to carry on giving them a wild future. So on behalf of those tigers, we’d like to thank you for not forgetting that without your help we wouldn’t be able to keep them safe.

It is already June and since our last report so many things have happened but not all good.

The Risks to wild Tigers escalated as the COVID19 Lockdown began

  • Human-Tiger conflict has increased with three separate tiger attacks on people leaving two people dead (including a patroller) and one person critically injured in hospital;
  • Forest fires started by careless individuals have decimated several kilometres of forest habitat;
  • Human encroachment is at a year high as precious forest resources are plundered to keep food on the table for families who haven’t had paid employment since 25 March 2020; and
  • Science tells us that wild tigers are susceptible to COVID19 infection transmitted by humans.

But it’s not all bad news for wild tigers

On a positive note, there have been some successes too:

  • We managed to raise £1068 ($1335) towards our next waterhole construction, largely due to fantastic support from you all during climate action week, which means that we’ve raised £3939 ($4923) of our £10560 (US$13250) target to date;
  • We haven’t lost any wild tigers to poachers (for 44 months) or retaliatory poisonings (for 5 years);
  • We heard this week that a tigress has given birth to five cubs and another has four new cubs so there are nine more tigers for us to protect now;
  • We managed to raise sufficient funds to get an emergency essentials parcel to the family of 38 year old patroller Chinta who was tragically killed by a tiger just 50 metres (165 feet) from a patrolling camp. We’ve also obtained a high quality sewing machine and 20 metres (66 feet) of premium quality materials to enable Chinta’s widow and family to rebuild their lives with a small clothes making business.
  • We’ve also been raising funds to provide safe drinking water tanks at four remote patrolling camps so that patrollers don’t have to fill their drinking water bottles at the same waterholes used by tigers and other wild animals. (See also: https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tiger-protectors/ for more details);
  • We still plan to put the next permanent waterhole for wild tigers in a critical dry location as soon as we have sufficient funds and the lockdown restrictions are lifted in India;
  • Our patrols are essential workers and continue to protect wild tigers.

How you can help                   

We don’t know for certain how long this crisis will last, but what we do know is that we need to quadruple our efforts to keep wild tigers safe. It is normal to double our efforts throughout the peak poaching season, but we could be facing another six months of the same difficult conditions we’ve set out in this project report. So the best way to help us keep wild tigers safe is to fund our projects today, because tomorrow might be too late.

On 15 July 2020, you can also support our GlobalGiving Bonus Day matched funding campaign. All day, any donations above $100 (£82) will be matched by on a tiered basis, at no extra cost to you. Participate in our GlobalGiving campaign here https://goto.gg/34315, and remember that all new monthly donations will receive a 100% bonus match on month four too.

Here are some of the ways your money helps us to save wild tigers:

- £20 ($26) will help to drill 2 metres (6.5 feet) of bore-well to access underground water;

- £75 ($95) can pay a team of workers to prepare a site for a new waterhole for wild tigers;

- £380 ($475) will fund 6% of a solar system to bring underground water to the surface.

Every donation, no matter how large or small, helps us increase and protect the tiger population. Thank you on behalf of the wild tigers, which you are helping us to keep safe; and on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing equipment and labour for our waterhole projects; we couldn’t do this without you. Thanks to you, the tigers can live peacefully and those who live beside them can protect their livelihoods.

Any and all donations are welcome https://goto.gg/34315.

If you can’t afford to donate perhaps you could become a become a Tigers4Ever fundraiser, here: https://www.globalgiving.org/dy/v2/fundraisers/start/?fundraiser.projids=34315 and ask your friends, colleagues and family to donate to your fundraiser to help us keep wild tigers safe.

Tiger cub in Tigers4Ever Waterhole
Tiger cub in Tigers4Ever Waterhole

Links:

Mar 31, 2020

New Challenges - COVID19

An Indian family at home in tiger territory
An Indian family at home in tiger territory

In our January project report, we recalled how our efforts in 2019 had taken the number of children we have provided educational opportunities to up to 2200 across 25 different villages and this was thanks to your amazing support. In as little as three months, so much has changed: around the world people are living in lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID19 (coronavirus), and India is no exception. Right now, Indian families are confined to their homes and schools have closed down, people are in a total lockdown for 21 days, but the rural schools close even before that began.

We have no idea how long this situation will last, and in that respect we are no different from anyone else, but what we do know is that in rural India, these poor rural families will be crammed into a single room or at best two rooms, there will be no furniture to sit on for many, and those who have a bed or two will take it in turns to sleep there. Add to this, no running water and no electricity for the many and you may start to see how difficult life will be for the children of these families with no school, unable to go outside to play with friends, and nothing to occupy their minds.

We normally ask for help so we can provide education packs so these children have a chance to go to school, but now these education packs may well be their only chance to learn with or without school. Now more than ever, the basic learning books which we include in the packs for the youngest children which teach them the alphabet in Hindi and English along with how to count; could be vital to ensuring that a generation of young children living with wild tigers don’t miss out on education for life. With this in mind, and with your help, we’d like to put a greater emphasis on these basic educational resources and also bilingual dictionaries for the older children. We’d like to ensure that every child we help has access to learning in both Hindi and English at this difficult time, but we’d also like to give them the basic writing materials so that if and when the schools re-open these children can go to school too.

In the next couple of months, we’d like to provide educational resources for at least 250 children living with wild tigers, but we can’t do this without your help. We want the poorest children to learn to read, write and equally importantly learn about wildlife, nature and conservation. We want these children to have a chance to grow up and become protectors of wild tigers rather than have a lifestyle which is entirely dependent on encroachment or destruction of wild tiger habitat for survival. We want to ensure that these children don’t miss out on the opportunity to get an education which would enable them to have a better future too, but sadly since our last report we haven’t received the donations to facilitate this. So when you consider that for just £20/US$26 we could provide the educational resources to school 4 young children living with wild tigers: https://goto.gg/32565.

We had also hoped to be able to fund scholarship places at a new school in Bandhavgarh, but the uncertainty caused by COVID19 and a lack of funding have meant that we must put this plan on hold, for now. This is still something which we would like to do, but without donations it is impossible. If we cannot raise new funds, then another generation of young children will miss out on education and could, as a result of this, become future tiger poachers. If you want to help us to prevent this from happening: don’t delay donate £20/US$26 today and help us to send 4 children living with wild tigers to school: https://goto.gg/32565. It would only take donations from 63 of our followers today, and we could help at least 250 of these children, which would be truly amazing!

If all our supporters could do the same, maybe we’ll be able to break down some barriers for children living with wild tigers whose parents simply can’t afford to send them to school because the cost of basic writing materials is too high. We know that you don’t want to be the generation which has to tell your children and grandchildren that wild tigers are extinct because of a lack of education in the communities which lived around them: https://goto.gg/32565.

Remember: when we provide education packs for children living with wild tigers we are reducing the risk of future tiger habitat destruction AND ensuring that these children have the opportunity to become future tiger protectors.

I would like to thank you for your generosity and support on behalf of the wild tigers, which we are keeping safe; on behalf of the children who we have helped to get an education (and their families who have food because of this help); and on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing books and writing equipment for inclusion in the education packs which we distribute. Stay Safe in these challenging times.

Tiger walks down an empty road
Tiger walks down an empty road

Links:

Mar 20, 2020

A New Threat

A Tiger cub in hot pursuit of potential prey
A Tiger cub in hot pursuit of potential prey

Three months seem to fly by right now although I suspect that the next three might seem like an eternity to most of us as the world is gripped by the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic lockdown and the end doesn’t feel as though it is in sight. For some people globally, the last three months has already been a challenge, so we’re very grateful for those of you who, despite all of this, have been helping us to keep the wild tigers safe. Thank you for showing us just how much you care.

It’s hard, therefore, to know where to begin in these difficult times as the world is in a period of lockdown in order to fight off the risk of the Coronavirus pandemic spiralling out of control, although some might say that it already has! The wild tigers, however, pad their way around their jungle home in rural India oblivious to this new threat to the humans who share their planet. For once, and perhaps only momentarily these magnificent animals may just have the upper hand over their human counterparts, sadly this utopia is unlikely to last. It probably seems strange to you that we to have to raise the risk level for our Anti-Poaching Patrols to high, right now: especially as it is a full three months before the start of the monsoon and peak poaching season; so why the increased risk, I hear you say.

Well it’s not just the west which is feeling the current impact of the Coronavirus lockdown, tiger tourism is at a virtual standstill too. As the businesses and people living around the tiger habitat who are dependent on tiger tourism face uncertain futures because the tourists have to stay away, their income will fall dramatically and put increasing pressures on their ability to survive. This is further impacted as the drought season is already upon us and crops will be lost to marauding herbivores and livestock to the predators which follow. People still need to put food on the table and pay their medical bills, etc., but without their regular income times will be exceedingly hard. A popular solution in such times of hardship is to lay snare traps to catch the deer, wild boar, etc., which come to raid the crops and look for water; selling the poached animals’ meat may feed a family for a few months if the perpetrators aren’t caught. These indiscriminate snares and traps aren’t always meant for tigers and leopards but sadly they do kill whichever animal is unfortunate enough to walk into them, and although the tiger is an unintentional tiger, it is a prized catch because its skin, teeth, claws, bones, meat, blood, etc., can be traded on the black market to provide enough food for a family for up to six months. This is before we even consider the traps which can be set to deliberately ensnare tigers!

It is hard to estimate how long this crisis will last, but one thing is for sure, right now we need to increase or even double our patrols to keep the wild tigers safe but we don’t have the funds to do this and sustain the increase throughout the normal peak poaching season of the monsoon. We could be facing a need for doubled patrolling for six months, and next month will also bring the threat of frequent forest fires. It is hard to ask at this difficult time for all but we really do need your help to keep wild tigers alive, so please if you can help donate today because tomorrow may be too late: https://goto.gg/28767.

We’ll be taking part in the GlobalGiving #LittlexLittle matched funding campaign from 09:00 ET (13:00 UTC) on 23 March 2020 till 23:59 ET on 27 March 2020 (04:00 UTC on 28 March 2020) during which time your donation of $50 (£38) will receive bonus matched funds to make it worth $75 (£57) for the wild tigers at no extra cost to you. During this campaign all online donations up to and including $50 (£38) will benefit from 50% matched bonus funds being added to the donation throughout the week, whilst donations above this value will also receive bonus funds these will be capped at $25 (£19): https://goto.gg/28767 and remember every little helps to save wild tigers, for example £20 ($26) will help to pay a team of patrollers for a day whilst £10 ($13) will help us to give to patrollers three hot meals each whilst they’re on duty saving wild tigers.

Finally, I would like to thank you all again for your continued amazing support and donations, which have not only enabled us to give wild tigers a wild future they have helped us to increase their numbers too. I know that many of you are facing an uncertain future right now, so if you can’t donate a large amount, perhaps you could consider a small donation each month instead at: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/?show=recurring, as every little really does make a big difference for the wild tigers. I know that the wild tigers which you continue to help us to keep safe can’t thank you themselves, so I am saying thank you on their behalf. Thank you also, on behalf of the patrollers, we are keeping in work (and their families who have food on the table); and on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing food/uniforms/equipment for our patrols and from the safety/education advice given by Deepak, Prahlad, Vidya, Ravi, Sandip and the rest of our anti-poaching patrol team.

Tiger resting in long grass near a village
Tiger resting in long grass near a village

Links:

 
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