Community Leadership, India 2000 – 2006
This long term project from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)-India bases itself on a co-operative venture across different regions in India and is centered around the idea of locating young and highly motivated local youth leaders at prime tiger landscapes to promote tiger conservation through community education.
Following its conception in 1999 the project was actively in the following regions:
Nagarahole National Park
This 644 sq. km national park, consisting of moist and dry deciduous forests, is part of the Western Ghats, considered among the 25 global biodiversity hotspots. This 644 sq. It is is recognized as a global priority tiger conservation area included under Tiger Conservation Landscape.
This park, together with its neighboring wildlife reserves stretching over 5,500 sq. km, perhaps represents the single largest global populations of the tiger Panthera tigris, Asian elephant Elephas maximus and gaur Bos gaurus. Working with Living Inspiration for Tribals (LIFT)
Community Leadership for Tiger Conservation (CLTC) was started in Anshi National Park (ANP) and Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary (DWS) to conserve one of the important tiger habitat, also in Western Ghats of Karnataka. Two protected areas, viz., Anshi National Park (ANP) and Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary (DWS), are situated on the northwestern side of the Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka State.
These forests are linked to six protected areas in the neighboring states of Goa and Maharashtra. Together this region forms a contiguous forest patch of about 2,200 sq. kms with pockets of intact prime habitat for tigers and other habitat specialist wildlife species. Working with Sahyadri Wildlife and Forest Conservation Trust (SWIFT).
Bhadra Tiger Reserve
Bhadra Tiger Reserve (492 sq. km area) is a tropical moist deciduous forest that has many features that make it a high priority area for large mammal conservation, particularly tigers and their prey. Till the late 1980s, the management focus in Bhadra was heavily tilted towards revenue generation forestry. Subsequently, Bhadra’s extensive Bamboo forests were severely exploited to meet the raw material requirements of a large paper mill. From the 1990s the management focus has slowly changed towards wildlife conservation due to consistent pressure and active involvement of local conservation groups. This project works intensively with the families volunteering to resettle and with the State Forest Department to speed up the much-delayed rehabilitation process. It also builds on tiger and prey monitoring to build up a picture of population dynamics. Working with Bhadra Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) is one of the prime tiger reserves in central India situated in the Chandrapur district of the Maharashtra State of India. Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve covers an area of 625.40 sq. km. This includes Tadoba National Park, and the Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary. Working with Tiger Research and Conservation Trust (TRACT).
The Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the Western Ghats, comprises of dense evergreen and semi evergreen forests of an area of 431.23 sq kms. Declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1972, this reserve links the Kuduremukh National Park, Someshwara – Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuaries in the south and Anshi National Park in the North. Sharavathi Valley Sanctuary acts an important link between all the above said reserves and forms a key corridor for wildlife. Working with Sharavathi Tiger Conservation Action Group (STAG).
The Kudremukh National Park is the largest declared Wildlife Protected Area (600 sq.km) of a tropical wet evergreen type of forest in the Western Ghats, in India. The Park is sustaining a diverse assemblage of endangered animals like the Tiger, Lion Tailed Macaque, Dhole, Gaur, Great Pied Hornbill and other threatened species. The Park is subjected to various pressures like hunting, over exploitation of forest resources through firewood collection, cattle grazing, illegal minor forest produce collection, annual forest fires etc. There are several legal and illegally encroached settlements as enclosures deep inside the Park. Even after a decade of notification of the National Park, the Park is still not well protected. Working with the Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation (KWF).
Examples of the CLTC activities:
Educating local bodies, government agencies, religious groups and other organizations intended in wildlife conservation.
Continuation of education programs to the students and youths through nature camps, slide talks and field trips.
Long-term consolidation of the park through facilitating resettlement of villages lying within the tiger reserve.
Improve protection system through motivation and training of the field staff of the state forest department.
Monitoring and ‘Watch Dog’ activities
Community awareness programs to reduce human pressures like NTFP collection, poaching, fire and cattle grazing.
Publish information booklets on tiger, other large carnivores and their prey, based on the knowledge on wildlife gained through research and practical experience that can act as source material for teachers and others.