Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Tiger Conservationists Meet for Annual Seminar

On 4th-6th July, the Satpuda Landscape Tiger Programme (SLTP), funded by Born Free, held its fourth Annual Seminar in Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra. Rather than implementing a single new project from scratch, the SLTP restructures existing projects into a network of Partners operating across a landscape, funding their specific needs and developing better communication between them. Dedicated local conservationists are rewarded through Conservation Empowerment Bursaries, enabling them to focus all their energy on their conservation work.

Partners of the SLTP at the Annual seminar, Melghat Tiger Reserve

Kindly hosted by the Nature Conservation Society Amravati (NCSA), the three-day event gave representatives from all five Indian partner organisations the chance to report on their activities of the past 12 months, and to discuss future action to address the threats facing tigers throughout Central India’s network of increasingly fragmented natural habitat.

Environmental education games with Madanapur schoolchildren

The Bombay Natural History Society’s (BNHS) Mobile Education Unit has reached over 30,000 students aged between 9-16, and more than 1,000 teachers since the SLTP was formed. By engaging women in environmental education, BNHS has revived the dilapidated gobar gas infrastructure (biogas from cow dung), previously installed by the government but whose maintenance had been neglected. Thanks to vital, low-cost maintenance work, domestic supply of gas has been restored to 17 families, significantly reducing their dependence on forest wood fuel.

The Mobile Health Unit (MHU), operated by NCSA, has delivered key health services to 8,875 patients in five tiger reserves (Bori Satpuda; Melghat; Pench MP; Pench MS; Tadoba-Andhari) in the last twelve months. The MHU, manned by a team of part-time doctors and nurses, has distributed First Aid boxes and posters highlighting issues from forest fires and water pollution to hygiene and basic health care.

The Satpuda Foundation (SF) continues to lobby the Indian government on key issues such as: the threats posed by Baheliya poachers using steel traps; the appointment of forest rangers to key long-vacant posts; the voluntary relocation of villages from inside tiger reserves; and the extension of protected area status to tiger habitat currently lying outside reserve boundaries. Much of this work is supported by the Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG), which supports lawyers involved with legislation and court cases affecting environmental policy in Central India.

Vehicles provided by Born Free to mobilise the camera-trapping team

The Tiger Research and Conservation Trust (TRACT) spent the past 12 months collecting field data on the availability and viability of suitable tiger habitat in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve’s hinterland. Presence of large carnivores was confirmed in these areas by various sign, direct sightings, carnivore deaths, deaths of livestock and humans, and most crucially by photographs taken by TRACT’S camera-traps. Consequently, a proposal has been submitted to the Maharashtra State Board for Wildlife for the buffer zone adjoining the reserve to be afforded conservation status in accordance with the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s new guidelines.

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