Aug 5, 2021

Ex-gratia aid to Wildlife Guard injured on duty

Representative picture of Forest Guards on duty
Representative picture of Forest Guards on duty

Hi Friend,

Hope you are doing great!

At the outset, we would like to express our gratitude to you for supporting the project ‘Thank our Forest Guards this World Ranger Day’. The project aims to develop a strong, well-equipped and motivated force of Frontline Forest Staff, who are guarding India’s Protected Areas. Your generous contribution will significantly help us realize the project’s aim. We are also highly thankful to you for believing in us, our work and for choosing to donate for this cause.

Here are some of the updates from the project.

During the reporting period, we provided ex-gratia support to the one of the wildlife guards, Mr. Balwant* who was injured on 20th of June by a group of encroachers, while he was participating in a drive to prevent them from cultivating paddy in the Hygam Wetland Reserve, in Kashmir. Mr. Balwant* has been working as a Wildlife Guard in the Wetlands Division in Kashmir since 2018.

He is responsible for carrying out anti-poaching raids and anti-encroachment drives as part of his duty to protect the flora and fauna of this Protected Area. He has demonstrated tremendous dedication towards his job, and has successfully prevented several poaching attempts in the past as well.

On the day of the incident, Balwant* was manhandled by the encroachers and sustained severe injuries as well as a fracture in his left arm. For treatment, he had to undergo an orthopaedic surgery in Srinagar. With your support, we could provide an ex-gratia amount of INR 10,000/- to Balwant* in this hour of need and covered his medical bills.

Patrolling the most difficult terrains on foot during harsh weather conditions, putting up with a lack of basic field equipment and field gear, and the worst of all, braving constant threats to their lives from poachers and timber mafias as well as accidental deaths or injuries on duty due to attacks by wild animals. The Frontline Forest Guards are enduring all this to protect India’s wildlife. To support these unsung heroes, WTI has pioneered a ‘Supplementary Accident Assurance Scheme’ through which we provide immediate ex-gratia support (INR 1, 00, 000/-) to the families of the deceased and lesser amount to the injured. The ex-gratia scheme is a component of a larger, umbrella project through which we also assist the government agencies in training and educating the frontline forest staff and equipping them with the basic field kits.

That’s all for today. We’ll soon follow up with more updates from the project. Till then, take care!

With regards,

Team WTI

*Name changed to maintain confidentiality

Jul 19, 2021

Supporting rescue efforts in wetlands of Kashmir

Dear donor,

Hope you have been keeping well.

With this email, we are sharing with you the updates for our project titled “Help Rescue Wild Animals and Birds in India”. Thank you so much for your generous donation to the project.

Kashmir valley is one of the only promising breeding ground for the Common Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). The wetlands in the region support not just the Mallards, but several other migratory species that visit the area. Back in 2011, following months of lobbying efforts, WTI along with the Wildlife Conservation Fund managed to take over approximately 175 hectares of wetlands in Pampore region from the Revenue Department and handed over to the Wildlife Department, to ensure proper monitoring and protection of these critical wetlands. During one of our recent field visits, we came across an enthusiastic forest guard and a watcher, who have been monitoring these wetlands for any illegal activities as well as ensuring rescue and treatment of any injured migratory birds. We provided them with binoculars to help continue their monitoring efforts.

That’s all for the update under the project. We’ll get back to you with more updates soon. Till then, take care.

With regards,

Team WTI

Jul 19, 2021

Mitigating Human-Otter conflict in Bhubaneshwar.

Dear donor,

Hope you have been keeping well.

With this email, we are sharing with you the updates for our project titled “Stop the hunting of wildlife in India”. Thank you so much for your generous donation to the project.

Smooth-coated otters are subjected to pesticide contamination, illegal domestication, retaliatory killings and snare traps due to conflicts with humans, especially along the Nuanai River. A Rapid Action Project by WTI was sanctioned to Earth crusaders organisation to conduct surveys as well as awareness programmes to sensitize people on how to treat this aquatic species.

Apart from the several surveys conducted by our team through questionnaires and camera trapping, the team depended upon the information being provided by the locals to trace otters and identify several threats towards them. They were able to locate conflict-prone areas to assess threats with the support received from the locals. Rapport building with the fishermen community helped the team in human-Otter conflict mitigation segment under which five affected fishermen were compensated with new fishing nets. Activities like awareness campaigns in the community centres and wall painting (2 paintings) were possible due to their cooperation. Along with the Forest Department the team conducted anti-snare walks in the field sites and 6 snares were seized. The team conducted sensitization campaigns (1 for the Forest department, 2 for the community, and 18 institutional sensitisation) for a total of sixty people in schools, colleges and community centres. Issues such as retaliatory killing, snaring, pollution and myths about the species were being addressed during these campaigns.

To investigate the poisoning of otters in retaliation observed in a particular site, the team managed to test water samples and confirmed pesticide contamination. Sensitization programmes involved spreading the word of the harmful effects of pesticides and the Forest Department was notified of this threat.

This project was the need of the hour as major habitat destruction had taken place because of the severe cyclonic storm FANI resulting on a rise of Otter-human conflicts. This RAP has thus created a baseline for long term interventions in the landscape.

That’s all for the update under the project. We’ll get back to you with more updates soon. Till then, take care.

Warm regards,

Team WTI

 
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