Support to the Forest Department
The Forest Department is the institution primarily responsible for wildlife conservation. A research-based wildlife science approach and capacity building enables them to gain skills and to create change. We help the Forest Department by providing them with practical support to improve their skills and techniques, and to develop processes for collective action.
The forest frontline workers like guards and watchers deal with tough conditions and situations day in and day out. With the intention of supporting our forest front-line staff, we provide good quality field kits to forest guards and watchers, who often patrol remote parts of the forest, or deal with different calamities, to provide them a little help to do their work more efficiently. In the remotely located anti-poaching camps, we have helped set up solar-powered water pumps, so the watchers don't have to make the gruelling walk to faraway water sources through a difficult terrain. Most APCs are remotely located in the forest with no provision for running water or electricity. These pumps help the watchers save the time and effort required to fetch water from nearby sources, enabling them to do their work more efficiently.
Forest personnel are provided with two-wheelers and four-wheelers for them to be able to reach conflict sites easily. We also distributed field kits to forest watchers, guards and staff consisting of sturdy backpacks, lunchboxes, caps, and water bottles to aid them in carrying out their work. During the dry season, when the forest fires sometimes get out of control, these frontline workers tread through dangerous situations to contain the fire. With their safety in mind, they're provided air blowers that can help put out the fire quicker.
Outreach and Capacity-building:
With the intention of making the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) more accessible to the forest staff, it was translated into Kannada by our team. Over 1500 copies of the translated book were distributed among forest personnel. A number of workshops and awareness sessions with regards to forest laws, conflict response, and natural history are also conducted at the Holématthi Nature Information Centre.
The temporary staff is critical in protection and management of our protected areas, yet their salary is far less compared to the permanent staff. Our proposal, as discussed with senior bureaucracy within the forest department, would provide additional economic benefits in the form of Wildlife Allowance to the temporary staff which would act as a motivation for them. Having introduced the idea almost seven years ago, this has been another one of our long-term projects to ensure better remuneration and insurance for the frontline staff.
You can read more about these workshops under out Awareness and Outreach section.