Friday, November 20, 2009

Tigress in Tadoba

Most tiger fans think it sacrilege to use adjectives like "cute" to describe tigers. I am not one of them. The tigress in these stunning photos taken by Giri Venkatesan (SF's Vice-President) is both magnificent AND cute!

I am highly envious of him for getting this wonderful sighting. But at least we can enjoy the experience through this beautiful set of images. I just can't get enough of them.

Photos: Giri Venkatesan

October '09 activity report

SF's policy has always been to involve forest-dwelling communities and win their support for conservation. Typical activities are water conservation programmes, education and awareness and capacity-building workshops to empower young people to get good jobs that don't harm the forest.

Here are some photos from last month's activity reports compiled by SF Vice-President Giri Venkatesan. They were taken in Kanha National Park, Pench, Satpuda and Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserves. SF's team of Conservation Officers is highly motivated and they have worked hard to win the trust of the villagers in their area.

If you would like to read the complete reports, please contact me on rajashree DOT khalap AT gmail DOT com giving your email id. I will send them to you.

Above: Satpuda Tiger Reserve - On October 21, we organized a "shramdhaan" at Mongra village to build a tank for vermi-compost. Residents were throwing their organic waste all over the village. Our team explained to them that they could generate fertilizer from this waste by dumping this organic waste in a tank and adding cattle droppings and worms to it. The villagers agreed and undertook to build the tank.

Above: Follow-up/maintenance work on water conservation work (a check dam) our team built along with villagers. Mudholi, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

Above: A soak pit constructed by our team, along with 82 school children, to recharge the water table near a hand pump. Thuyepani, Pench National Park

Above: Our team joined hands with 20 school children to dig a soak pit next to a hand pump at Turia, outside Pench National Park.

Above: Plantation programme at Dhamangaon, Kanha National Park area

Above: Field assistant Dilip Lanjewar talks to Jhinjeriya’s school children about nature and wildlife. Pench Tiger Reserve.

Above: Drawing contest to celebrate Wildlife Week - Sawra Government School, Pench

Above: Children set off for a nature trail at Kutwanda (Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve)

Above, below: On October 10, we organized a rally at Chapri (Kanha National Park area) in which around 200 school children from 7 villages and local villagers participated. The rally ended at the Satpura Centre at Chapri, a centre for local medicinal plants which has been set up by the Forest Department. The participants were addressed by Forest Department officials and SF Conservation Officer Amit Awasthi who spoke about the need for conservation as well as the value of local medicinal plants.

Above: SF's team visited 18 schools as part of our ongoing education programme. This is in the village Anjandana. Satpuda Tiger Reserve.

Above: In collaboration with NABARD, SF organized a month-long programme to teach 20 unemployed village youths to drive 4-wheelers - and when necessary, change tyres! Pench Tiger Reserve.

Above: As part of Wildlife Week celebrations (early October), local children were taken on bird-watching trails. This is in Moharli, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

Above: The Forest Department had installed bio-gas units in 10 villages in the Kanha area, to reduce villagers' dependence on firewood from the forest. Due to poor follow-up and maintenance many of the units failed. SF's Kanha team recently worked with the Forest Department to study the reasons for failure and restart the units. So far 6 of the failed units have been restored (in 5 villages). Here the owner of one of the units happily poses for the camera!

Above: Teaching children the use of biogas at Dhamangaon, Kanha National Park area

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gond dancers at Sawra, Pench

Villagers at Sawra (near Pench, Maharashtra) have decided to revive their traditional dances in an effort to preserve and showcase their rich culture. SF is encouraging this initiative. It is hoped that tourists going to Pench National Park will also visit local villages to understand the tribal traditions of the area.

The video shows one of the dancers' practice sessions at the village school.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Do Animals have Emotions?

This NewScientist article has some beautiful stories on ‘human’ emotions shown by animals.

If you have stories similar to these, we would love to hear about them from you.