Awareness workshops conducted for various stakeholders to inculcate an understanding and love for the wildscapes.
Many communities in the Malai Mahadeshwara - Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary belt live in close proximity to the wild spaces, and often share resources with wildlife. Prevailing socio-economic conditions, restricted access to resources due to remoteness, superstition, and lack of awareness about wildlife and potential alternatives - all contribute towards a certain disconnect between communities and wildlife in the region. Communicating these issues with the people can promote a better understanding to foster positive attitudes towards conservation and wildlife, and help mitigate conflict situations.
Our work with the local community:
We deliver messages about wildlife and their ecology, the landscape, the ill-effects of poaching and wild meat consumption, and alternative resources using a wide combination of methodologies such as street plays, nature camps, workshops, visual imagery, documentary screenings, and interactive games and training modules. Awareness posters addressing issues such as poaching, snaring, human-wildlife conflict, and tips on how to deal with conflict situations are put up on display at places of worship, and places where the villagers congregate. We also take the opportunity to screen some informational videos, especially for school students to help them understand wildlife, and related issues better.
By developing a rapport with the local leaders (religious and elected representatives) we try to establish support for conservation, and to integrate with the local communities. This synergy with members of Gram Panchayat is also important from the point of view of gaining support for the different projects we run with the communities in the region, like the livelihoods project, which would help reduce their dependence on scare forest resources, and reduce the instances of human-animal interactions.
Children and educators:
The Holématthi Nature Information Centre is a rural learning centre, making environmental education accessible to students in local schools around the vicinity of the MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. Along with the Early Bird team, we conduct workshops for both, teachers and students to develop in them a better understanding of the surrounding wildlife through interactive games, stories, audio-visual aids, and interaction with some of the most experienced naturalists. Kids find the abundance of wildlife in their vicinity fascinating, and we have experienced that a good number of kids who visit the centre go back with a positive attitude and good learning.