IndiaGBnews.com special correspondent Aline Dobbie reports on her visit to The Sundarbans in West Bengal to learn about tiger conservation in the region.
Graham and I learned a great deal in that short time, most especially about the primary school that we visited for a wonderful concert and the medical clinic that we observed in one of nine villages. We also met the men who do the tiger patrols.
We then had the opportunity of enjoying The Sundarbans on a boat for two days and seeing the world’s largest Mangrove Forest firsthand in the world’s largest delta of great rivers like the Ganges (the Ganga) and the Brahmaputra.
View the full gallery of Aline’s visit to The Sundarbans
Teamwork – a holistic approach to tiger conservation
Tiger Awareness has been supporting work with Saving Tiger Society (Kolkata) for seven years. The charity works by the motto of teamwork and this can only be achieved by working with local communities and supporting Forest Staff; this will allow for solutions at ground level.
The charities’ approach to conservation includes meeting villagers and working with them to learn the local situation. In The Sundarbans they have built a school that has 150 children involved in weekly lessons about nature, art and education. These pupils are shown films on nature and they’re taken on visits to the forest area. In the last two years, medical health camps have been held in the nine villages where the charities work. Some of these villages had not seen any NGOs for over 20 years.
The charities have also set up Tiger Squads in these villages. These teams patrol at night and have stopped man–animal conflict for both sides in these villages in the three seasons they have been working, also adding solar light posts in these villages and other areas.
In Madhya Pradesh, the charities have recently funded anti-poaching dogs. These animals support the Forest Department in their work by sniffing out and helping to catch poachers, thus reducing poaching of precious wildlife. There are more dogs currently in training.
Moreover, they currently have a staff member in Pench Wildlife Park, giving education/awareness classes at schools in Pench buffer area.
Boundary walls have been built around open wells in the area over the last two years to help prevent loss of wildlife that hitherto blundered into wells and drowned. There are also four animal squads that patrol at night. These teams have been working for the last two years and have prevented electrocution incidents and prevented crop raiding and man–animal conflict in these areas.
The charities also support forest staff with medical health camps, first aid kits and training to help in their work.
Learn more about tiger conservation work in The Sundarbans at www.tigerawareness.co.uk
Aline Dobbie is one of the UK’s foremost authorities on India. Born in India to Scottish parents she spent the first 16 years of her life in the sub-continent. An acclaimed travel writer, Aline is the author of a celebrated trilogy of books on India, including The Peacock’s Call – www.thepeacockscall.co.uk