8 April 2022
Imagine a team of guardians getting together to save the planet by combining their individual strengths and expertise. Sounds like a fictional plot from your favorite Marvel movie right? But luckily for us, such a partnership exists, only that these guardians don’t wear capes. Meet the Satpuda Landscape Tiger Partnership (SLTP) team.
The SLTP, developed and supported by the Born Free Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at the University of Oxford, brings together a network of Indian conservationists working for the protection of the forests and wildlife, particularly the highly threatened Bengal tiger, across the Satpuda Landscape in central India.
This year, the SLTP team partners met for the annual seminar at Chorla Ghat in the Indian state of Goa. The seminar is an important time for the partners to come together and share ideas and report on tiger conservation activity. The seminar was even more significant since the partners were meeting for a joint discussion after two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having recently joined the Born Free and SLTP team as a Network Coordinator, the seminar was a wonderful opportunity for me to interact with the dedicated team of NGOs and individuals who are working tirelessly for raising conservation awareness, mitigating human-wildlife conflict, advocating the importance of environmental protection measures and providing access to health services and sustainable livelihood opportunities to local communities in the Satpuda landscape.
It was an enriching three days for the participants with the seminar providing them a platform to present their recent work, exchange learnings and share success stories along with forthcoming plans.
"I can’t help but stress the importance of such a partnership for the long term survival of tigers, other wildlife and forests of India."
The participants also held brainstorming sessions to discuss priority conservation issues and shared their views on prospective solutions for them. Furthermore, through field visits, the team explored the local ecosystem in the Western Ghats region which is a biodiversity hotspot. The seminar concluded with the team sharing their nominations for the SLTP Conservation Hero Award which is presented to grassroots-level conservationists as a mark of recognition for their invaluable conservation work in central India.
Having had the opportunity to interact and work closely with the stalwarts of environmental conservation in India, I can’t help but stress the importance of such a partnership for the long term survival of tigers, other wildlife and forests of India. Simply because the Satpuda landscape encompasses several tiger reserves and important wildlife corridors and is the largest viable block of tiger habitat in India but is getting increasingly fragmented and degraded due to severe anthropogenic pressure. So, let’s join forces and try to support our SLTP guardians because, through the protection of tiger habitats, the larger aim is the conservation of biodiversity in general and combating the greatest threat all life on earth faces today-climate change. We look forward to sharing more stories, team member profiles and updates from SLTP initiatives in the coming months. Do stay tuned!
Image (c) Mike Vickers, www.tigersintheforest.co.uk