Jul 17, 2020

Preventing Wildlife Hunting in India

A snare set up by hunters in Dampa region
A snare set up by hunters in Dampa region

Dear Patron,

The updates for this project are from Mizoram, a state in Northeast India.

During the reporting period, Mr. Laleng Mawia sought our support for a wonderful initiative. He wanted to sensitise the local community around ‘Dampa Tiger Reserve’ in Mizoram about the regions’ unique biodiversity so as to minimize the hunting of threatened and endemic species.

The region which Mr. Mawai proposed to cover through his project comprised of some of the remotest villages with tiny populations. They are relatively undisturbed habitats and their proximity to ‘Dampa Tiger Reserve’ makes them suitable for several endemic and endangered species such as leaf monkeys, hoolock gibbons, golden cats, marbled cats, Chinese pangolins, etc.

Mr. Mawia has been working with the Forest Department of ‘Dampa Tiger Reserve’ as a ‘Wildlife Guard’ since 2013. Over the years, he has actively participated in wildlife population estimation and anti-poaching initiatives in the region. He belongs to a nearby village ‘Dilzawl’. Being a local, he has witnessed the hunting of several threatened species – pangolin, sun bear, leafy monkey, marbled cats, hornbills, turtles etc. – by communities from his village and those of the nearby villages.

He decided to develop a biodiversity inventory for the fringe-villages surrounding ‘Dampa Tiger Reserve’. He planned to engage the locals in the activity so as to apprise them of the species diversity of the region and their ecological significance. In coordination with the Village Council, he also wanted to understand the belief system, especially of the youth, and explore the possibility of a change in mindsets. Through regular meetings with the community, he wanted to mobilise ‘informer groups’ to keep a check on the hunting status. These activities, he believed, could reinstate the fading traditional practices among the hunting community such as avoiding hunting during the breeding season or avoiding hunting females with off-springs etc.

With an elaborate plan in place and a firm understanding of the community to which he belonged, Mr. Mawai approached Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) for camera traps which he planned to install in different regions to monitor the biodiversity and gather hunting evidences. We helped him with procuring the camera traps as required and set the project rolling. So far, Mr. Mawai’s initiatives have drawn positive support from the Forest Department, members of the Village Council and also the community members. We are confident that his initiatives would result in sensitized communities supporting sustainable practices in the region.

Thank you so much for supporting our project and such wonderful initiatives. With your support, we hope to continue the good work. We will keep sending similar updates to you. Until then, stay safe and take care.

Warm regards

Team WTI

Jul 17, 2020

Saving India's Tigers

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see”

-        John F. Kennedy

Dear Patron,

 ‘Munna’, the iconic tiger from Kanha Tiger Reserve in the state of Madhya Pradesh reached young children through an illustrated book. Madhya Pradesh Tiger Foundation Society (MPTF) curated a 32-page booklet on the life of a tiger titled “Baghon ki kahani, Munna ki zubani” (The story of tigers as narrated by Munna). The book was a joyride for the children in the age group of 10-12. This handy little edition is full of colored photos and caricatures of tigers in their natural environment. It covers interesting information about the species and its conservation status.   

Photos from wildlife photographers, text in the regional language (Hindi), and interesting caricatures of flora and fauna make this attractive to the target audience which is young school children. Munna’s first person account in a style that resonates with children of this age group explains tiger behavior, biology, threats to conservation and tiger corridors.

The book is meant to be distributed to school kids across all Tiger Reserves and Protected areas of Madhya Pradesh. MPTF planned to print 30,000 copies of which we assisted in printing 10,000 copies. The books were distributed across 16 conservancies, 6 Tiger reserves and 3 major Protected Areas – Kuno, Ratapani and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuaries— of Madhya Pradesh

WTI has been working in the Vidarbha landscape in Madhya Pradesh to ensure connectivity of tiger habitats. We have trained and equipped frontline forest staff across India to ensure protection of the species. Anti-snare walks, anti-poaching initiatives, ex gratia assurance to forest staff and working with communities in tiger landscapes are some of the key strategies implemented by WTI for holistic conservation.

We would like to thank you for supporting our project and such wonderful initiatives. With your support, we hope to continue the good work. We will keep sending similar updates to you. Until then, stay safe and take care.

Warm regards

Team WTI

Jul 17, 2020

Rescuing Wild Animals and Birds in India

As the saying goes- “Take what you need and leave the rest”.

Dear Patron,

Today’s updates for the project are from the mangrove forests of West Bengal – called ‘the Sundarbans’. Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) along with a local organisation (Lokmata Rani Rashmoni Mission; LRRM) convinced and supported the fishing community from 3 islands of the Sundarbans– ‘Gosaba’, ‘Satjelia’ and ‘Bali’ – to release their by-catch back into the estuarine mangrove waters.

The released by-catch comprised nearly 92,000 prawn-associated fauna in the reporting period! Several species of fish, squids, snails, snakes and crabs that would have otherwise perished as by-catch were rescued and put back into the waters. All it needed was a simple solution. We provided aluminum containers to the collectors and convinced them to segregate the seeds and adults of their species of interest from the other species, at the source.

Fishing is the mainstay occupation of the locals residing around the Sundarbans. Commercial collection of fish seeds and adults of Tiger Prawns (Panaeus monodon) or ‘Bogda’ (local name) is most prevalent. However, excessive use of drag nets and fine-meshed bag nets results in capture of several other species as by-catch which are not needed by the fishers and eventually dumped off. The fishing activity is mostly dominated by women who spend nearly five hours in water every day for a sufficient catch.

We initiated a cost-effective and straightforward approach which prevented the fisherwomen from throwing away the by-catch. 60 prawn collectors from the three islands were provided with aluminium buckets to help pick out the Tiger prawn seeds and collect the other associated macro fauna separately. Once segregated at the point of collection, the Tiger prawn seed collectors released back the other species.

The team is monitoring the seed collectors to ensure the release of by-catch. We are also collecting data on the number of associated fauna per Tiger prawn seed obtained. On an average, at least eighty other macro fauna are caught for every Tiger prawn collected! This amounts to around 3, 72, 232 by-catch of macro fauna every year, that will now be rescued and released alive.

The project is still ongoing and we hope this simple initiative will find more participation to help save the marine fauna of the Sundarbans.

All this would not have been possible without your generous support. We will keep sending you more updates on similar initiatives. Till then, take care and stay safe.

Warm regards,

Team WTI

 
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