In yet another attempt to rescue and treat birds injured by kite strings during the kite flying festival also known as Uttarayan and Makar Sankranti, IFAW-WTI organized veterinary camps in Gujarat and Rajasthan. These camps were held in Porbandar and Bhavnagar in Gujarat and Jaipur in Rajasthan. IFAW-WTI collaborated with different NGOs and respective Forest Departments in these cities to ensure that relief is provided to birds that are in need of any sort of treatment. Each year hundreds of birds die after getting entangled in glass coated kite strings. In Porbandar, IFAW-WTI in collaboration with Mokarsagar Wetland Conservation Committee (MWCC) and Gujarat Forest Department set up veterinary camps in Porbandar Bird Sanctuary to attend to as many cases as possible. A control room was also set up which coordinated bird rescue calls from different parts of the city. Four veterinarians from Junagadh Veterinary College were part of the team and rendered their help in treating many urban and wild birds injured by kite strings. In addition, a wildlife rehabber was also roped in for the operative care of the injured birds.
The camp witnessed admission and treatment of more than 70 birds. Many wild species like cattle egret, little egret, Heuglin's gull, common crane, demoiselle cranes, Dalmatian pelican, yellow wagtail, white Ibis, red wattled lapwing, lesser flamingos, peacock, golden plovers, among other notable species were treated in these three days. Apart from these, a considerable number of injured rock pigeons were also treated in the camp. The treated birds were kept in an aviary (with different holding areas) where a rehabber kept them under observation. Specific feed was provided to different bird species and once the birds recovered, they were released inside the bird sanctuary and few in their natural habitat. Moreover, a team of local youth also screened many wetlands in and around the city to remove discarded kites and strings to minimize injuries.
In Bhavnagar, IFAW-WTI assisted the Forest Department in providing rescue and relief measures to the injured birds. The city in the past has witnessed a large number of birds getting injured each year due to kite strings. This year, the camp was held for three days and around 40 birds were treated and released at the camp site. Barn owls, spot billed ducks, comb ducks, ibis and flying foxes were treated by veterinarians from Anand Agricultural College. In Surat, IFAW-WTI team undertook kite string removal programme across the city.
For three years in a row, IFAW-WTI has been organising workshops, veterinary camps, awareness drives and aligning with local NGOs to save birds during the kite flying festival.
Since 2011, the WTI team conceptualized and pioneered Anti-Snare Walks (ASW)—A joint forest walks with the forest authorities to identify and remove snares in Bandipur, mostly along the vulnerable areas like the Park-boundaries. Initially, the team, with the help of local youths, assisted the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) in removing snares. The GPS location of each snare was recorded, and has been plotted on a map. The Walks have proved to be a considerable success from the sheer number of snares identified and removed and from the overwhelming response the team and the activity got from the authorities, local organizations and communities, who themselves are conducting ASW’s in forest-fringe areas.
In 2015, WTI conducted ASW’s in Bandipur National Park, with support from Born Free Foundation. This year Team had covered eight sections and nineteen beats of six ranges from Bandipur which were Gundre, Hediyala, Moliyur, N.Begur, Nugu and Omkar Range. They have covered 189.207 kilometers by manual walk and removed 185 snares from the fringe area of Bandipur Tiger reserve.
In Nagarhole WTI had covered eleven sections and seventeen beats from five different ranges which are Aneechonkur Range, Hunsur, Kallahalla, Nagarhole and Veeranahosahally Range. They have covered 207.022 kilometers by manual walk and removed 80 snares and 4 Evidence from the fringe area of Nagarhole Tiger reserve.
Capacity-building of the STPF:
Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has been doing Capacity Building Trainings for frontline staff in many states in India under WTI’s Wildlife Crime Prevention Training Programme. The aim of the training is to curb poaching and habitat degradation in the forests, intelligence and information sharing on wildlife law enforcement and legal issues to assist officials and to organize workshop/ meetings.
WTI conducted two days workshop for two fresh batch training of Crime Prevention Training for the frontline staff from 15th to 19th February 2016, and one additional day training in between only on CDR Analysis. This CDR Analysis was focus for the Rangers, Assistant Conservator of Forest and officials above this designation.
This entire program on the Wildlife Crime Prevention Training Programme was conducted by Wildlife Trust of India in collaboration with Forest department and Aircel. Park Director Mr. H. C. Kantharaju was very happy about the training as this was the first ever training on CDR Analysis given to the forest officials.
There were around 25 selected forest officers who were selected from Nagarhole Tiger reserve, Biligiri, Bhadra Tiger reserve and from Madikeri forest Division. Mr.Manoj Dube who is currently based in Mumbai and is the specialist in handling CDR Analysis was called for this training in Nagarhole. Park Director Mr. H.C. Kantharaju- the Conservator of Forest and the Inspector General of Southern Zone National Tiger Conservation Authority, Shri. P.S. Somasekhar also joined during the training at Nagarhole Range.
An awareness campaign on Preservation, Promotion and Protection of Biodiversity, Sensitisation of Adi Tribal Community to ban Ritual Hunting was organised jointly by Wildlife Trust of India and Adi Baane Kebang, East Siang District at Kiyit Village community hall under Mebo sub-division, East Siang.
Addressing the meeting, ABK, East Siang unit, General Secretary, Tajing Taki spoke on the aims and objectives of the meeting.
Resource person, Range Forest Officer, Mebo, Obang Tayeng highlighted the issue of the preservation of biodiversity and the implications of destruction of wildlife. Speaking in the meeting, Gaon Burah of Kiyit, Ruklik Pertin called upon all to uphold the resolutions adopted in true spirit.
The meeting adopted a complete ban on selling, using, possession and transportation of Air Guns and its pellets in Adi belt with imposition of heavy fines, to protect Daying Ering Wildlife Sanctuary by all the community members, adding limitations against destruction of Forest based produces like cane, bamboo and restriction of yearly Tree permit Quota system in Saw Mills by District Administration and Forest department. The meeting also appealed the district administration for supporting the movement for eradication of Opium, Ganja and IMFL consumption. All district and block executive members of ABK and ABK WW East Siang, Gaon Burahs, Panchayat Members and villagers attended the meeting.
It was further stressed to the district administration and forest department to book the hunters and illegal traders and punish them accordingly. The people were motivated to save wildlife as these have an indispensable role in the ecosystems and community leaders were requested to come forward in this regard.
The following laws are being imposed in by the ABK in the Adi belt:
a) Hunting and fishing by way of blasting, poison, electric current are completely banned. A fine of Rs. 25, 000/- will be imposed.
b) Blocking the stream/river by using bull dozer is completely banned. A fine of Rs. 25, 000/- will be imposed.
c) Any person hunting without the knowledge of village community will be imposed a fine Rs. 25,000/-
d) Any person from outside the village who has encroached for hunting and fishing will be imposed fine of Rs. 25,000/-
No animal hunting by gun or air gun. Restrictions on Traditional Hunting
a) Individual, group or sub-group hunting is totally banned
b) No selling and purchasing of hunted animals and birds in Adi belt.
c) Any one found breaking rules will be imposed a fine Rs. 25,000/- or punishment as per forest/Administrative law.
River/Stream (Water body Hunting)
a) Traditional way of trapping through bamboo sticks, basket netting or other form of fishing is allowed 2-3 times a year during festivals. Not open for all but area owners only.
b) Activities like blasting, using electric current, poison, diverting stream or river are totally banned.
c) Fine of Rs. 25,000/- will be imposed and the administration will take action as per law.
Section X Clause 3 of Sub-Clause (c) has also empowered village authorities to check and make strict vigil in their own village
Nine such awareness campaigns have been conducted by WTI and ABK unit across the district.