Thursday, December 26, 2019

Activity Update November 2019: Navegaon-Nagzira

Check dam built by our volunteers in the park

Night patrolling from Mangezari to Asalpani

Volunteers build a check dam in the park

 Volunteers on an anti-poaching patrol in jungle 

Waterhole in Comp. No. 109 being cleaned and de-silted by our volunteers

 Bolunda - Students of the village school on our nature trail 

Jindatola - Volunteers sanitise the area around a hand pump

Kurhadi - Students of village school prepare artificial nests
to be placed around the village

Pindkepar - plastic trash clean up drive

Mukund Dhurve – Assistant Conservation Officer

Highlights: SEE TABLE 1

  • Joined Forest Department staff on 4 foot patrols 
  • 3 voluntary work programs to clean area next to water holes
  • 5 voluntary work programs to clean area next to hand pumps
  • 5 anti-plastic programs 
  • Organised Birds’ Week celebration programs;  582 students present
  • 1 check dam built through voluntary work 
  • 2 young villagers sent for driving training 

Our team organised 3 programs on November 12, 14, and 20 to clean water holes in Compartment No. 109, 112 and 56. Unemployed young villagers from Mangezari participated in the programs, led by Mukund (See Table 1).

Our team organised 5 community assistance programs on November 1, 11, 13, 17 and 28 to clear areas around hand pumps at Chorkhamara, Jindatola, Thadezari, Sodlagondi and Pindkepar. Unemployed young villagers from Mangezari participated in the programs, led by Mukund. 

Water had spilled over while people drew from the hand pumps and had stagnated, leading to proliferation of mosquitoes and insects. Our teams cleared the area, removing scum and organic growth, and dug canals to drain away the water.

Our team joined the Forest Department in day and night patrols in Compartments No. 109 and 56 and on paths linking Mangezari to Kodebarra and Mangezari to Asalpani. Besides our staff, volunteers from the Youth Club at Mangezari also joined in the patrols. The Youth Club was set up with our assistance and is mentored by our Conservation Officer Mukund Dhurve.

During the month, our team organised 5 anti-plastic programs to clean polythene/plastic litter from villages. The programs were organised on November 1, 11, 13, 17 and 28 at Chorkhamara, Jindatola, Thadezari, Sodlagondi, and Pindkepar villages respectively. Mukund organised the programs which were attended by villagers and village eco-development committee (VEDC) members. The plastic litter has been kept in our Mangezari office and will be sent to Tiroda for recycling. 

On 26 November, we built a check dam in Compartment number 56 as part of our water conservation programs. Besides conserving water, the check dam will also provide drinking water for wildlife in the area. 

Education - SEE TABLE 2

There were 6 education programs in November.

From 5th November to 12th November, we celebrated “Pakshi Saptah” in memory of Shri Maruti Chitampalli and late Dr. Salim Ali’s birth anniversaries. We organised various programs during the week, including a demonstration on making artificial nests from used cardboard boxes, nature trails and presentations in classrooms. We gave information about both ornithologists to students and teachers.  

Employment Cell Training activities - SEE TABLE 3

During the month, we identified 2 young villagers to attend a driving training program at Ashok Leyland Driving Training Centre, Chhindwara. The expenses for the month-long training program will be borne by the Forest Department. 

Activity Update November 2019: Pench Maharashtra

Awleghat - Balkrishna conducts nature education programme
in the village school

Pipariya - Members of a women's SHG learn how to make paper bags

Ghoti - Villagers attend our workshop on mushroom farming

 Khapa - Check dam built by our volunteers

Kirangisarra- Dr. Khode treats villager at our free health camp

Sawara - Dilip briefs students on our nature trail

Suwardhara - Volunteers clear wild growth from the sides of the road
leading to the village

Wagholi - Sahdeo Tekam packs dried mushrooms for sale

Bandu Uikey – Assistant Conservation Officer
Dilip Lanjewar – Field Assistant
Balkrishna Bagmare – Field Assistant

Highlights - SEE TABLE 1
  • Organised 4 foot patrols jointly with Forest Department staff - 20 villagers participated
  • One check dam constructed near Khapa village - 15 villagers participated
  • Organised 17 classroom education programs - 448 students present
  • Organised 2 training programs on mushroom cultivation and making of paper bags - 53 women participated 
  • 25 students from Sawara village participated in nature trail
  • Organised one meeting with villagers at Ghatpendari on crop damage 
  • Organised 6 medical camps - 200 patients treated 


On 2 November, following reports of the presence near Ghatpendari of a large carnivore, possibly a tiger, Bandu motivated 3 local young villagers to patrol the area to keep track of the animal’s movements. During the patrol, the team assisted the Forest Department staff in checking for any illegal activity like logging, and placing of snares for poaching. They also looked out for any indirect signs like pug marks, scat or scratch marks made by tigers, leopards or sloth bears. The team also checked for signs of illegal grazing inside the forest. No illegal activity was detected during the patrol. The team encountered signs indicating the presence of ungulates like wild boar, sambar deer and axis deer.  Similar patrols were carried out along with Forest Department staff in Shiladevi, Khapa and Dhawlapur on November 10th, 14th and 17th respectively.

On 27th November, Bandu and Dilip encouraged 15 villagers from Khapa to construct a check dam near the village to provide water for wildlife during the summer season. 
On November 15th, following requests from farmers of Ghatpendari, Bandu assisted 20 farmers including the Sarpanch and Police Patil, in filing for compensation for their crops damaged by wild herbivores. While assisting the villagers, Bandu also explained to the farmers the various steps they could take to check crop raiding by wildlife. Speedy settlement of compensation claims helps improve the farmers’ morale and reduces the likelihood that they will seek revenge against wildlife for the crop damage.

Nature and bird watching trail

On 5 November, Dilip took 25 school students from Sawara village on a nature trail in the forested area adjoining the village. While on the trail, Dilip provided information on various plant and tree species. The students identified trees such as teak, palash, mahua, neem, banyan, fig and salai. Dilip explained that the trees not only provide people with many medicines and fruit but also support numerous animal, bird and insect species. Dilip helped students identify hoof marks of herbivores like wild boars and sambar deer. During the trail, the students also observed many birds like Rufous Treepie, oriole, Coppersmith Barbet, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon and Indian Grey Hornbill. Dilip helped the students observe the differences in the shapes of beaks, feet and wings of the birds. 

Classroom education - SEE TABLE 2

In November, we organised 17 classroom awareness sessions.  448 students of Zilla Parishad Primary (ZPPS) and Zilla Parishad Upper Primary (ZPUPS) schools were present. Dilip and Balkrishna spoke to the students about various issues related to wildlife, soil and water and biodiversity conservation.  

Mobile Health Unit - SEE TABLE 3

There were 6 medical camps in November in which 200 patients were treated. 

Employment cell - SEE TABLE 1

On November 24th, we organised a workshop to train members of a women’s SHG of Pipariya village to make paper bags out of used paper. 13 members attended the workshop. 
On November 30th, we organised a workshop jointly with Forest Department to promote and encourage villagers to cultivate mushrooms.  40 members of women’s SHGs and Forest Department officials attended the workshop. 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Activity Update November 2019: Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

Ashtha - Meeting with Village Eco-Development Committee
to discuss livestock management and crop raiding by wildlife

Ashtha - Students participate in our anti-plastic and cleanliness drive 

 Bhamdeli - Elderly patients being treated at our  free medical camp

Karanji - School students and staff watch a film on wildlife conservation

Katwal - Mr. Abhimanyu from Sky Mushrooms, Nagpur,
making a presentation on mushroom farming

Katwal - Villagers being trained in mushroom farming

Khutwanda - Conservation officer Ajay conducts a survey
on human-animal conflict and crop damage
during our free medical camp

Khutwanda - Our team discusses ways to mitigate
human-animal conflict with villagers

Kudesawli - Students explain climate issues through
their drawing
Moharli - Young students of the village school on a rally to
spread awareness about conservation

Sitarampeth - Members of women's SHG are briefed
about alternative livelihood options

Wamanpalli - Students learn about wildlife through a nature game

Conservation Officer:  Ajay Poddar
Field Assistant:  Kishor Dudhbarai

Highlights of the month: SEE TABLE 1
  • 8 awareness programs on human-animal conflict attended by 349 villagers and students 
  • 1 wildlife conservation awareness rally with 90 students 
  • 2 garbage management programs to prevent human- animal conflict – 65 students participated
  • Nature club activities - nature and bird watching trail and drawing competition – 45 students participated
  • 10 environment education programs with 662 students and 30 teachers 
  • Oyster mushroom cultivation training workshop - 20 young villagers participated
  • 3 women’s SHG meetings were organised - 45 members attended
  • 8 VEDC meetings were organised - 144 members attended
  • Medical camps in 6 villages with 378 patients treated 

During November, we organised several meetings with villagers focusing on reduction in human-animal conflict. We introduced the villagers to the recently released human-animal conflict Resolution issued by Maharashtra Forest Department.  To spread awareness, we spoke to the community members about potential threats and the danger of venturing into the forest areas for fuel wood, mahua, tendu collection etc. As the Tadoba area has a good tiger breeding population and other large carnivores, encounters sometimes turn fatal for villagers, often leading to retaliatory killing of wildlife. Resolving issues like garbage dumps around villages, cattle grazing, minor forest produce (MFP) collection and unemployment, help in reducing human-animal confrontation.  

We also focused on wildlife movement outside protected areas (PAs). Wild herbivores like blue bulls, spotted deer, sambar deer and wild boar also pose a threat to villagers by raiding farms, damaging the crops and sometimes attacking farmers. Farmers suffer losses in these depredations. Farmers were told to maximise the usage of solar-powered fencing to try and deter wild animals from their farms. Our team is preparing a list of farmers who are willing to set up solar-powered fencing around their farms. 394 villagers attended these meetings. 

We organised garbage management meetings and activities with villagers of Khutwanda and Kondegaon. Programs were organised in order to sanitise the area around the villages, as garbage spillover and food leftovers lure wildlife into villages and cause human-animal conflict. We collected over 5 kilograms of plastic litter through public participation. 65 villagers including members of the VEDC (Village Eco-Development Committee), and children participated in these activities.

Environment Education - SEE TABLE 2

During  November, we organised environment education programs in Chiwanda, Karanji, Kondegaon, Kanargaon, Gunpur, Kudesawli, Wamanpalli, Pachgaon, Khutwanda and Katwal villages. We  organised these programs with students and teachers to make them aware of the importance of biodiversity and conservation. We taught them about nature and wildlife’s value through wildlife films, documentaries, presentations and classroom lectures. 662 students and 30 teachers participated in the programs.

Students of Nature clubs ‘Wagh,’‘Bibbat’ and ‘Ashwal’ from Moharli, Kudesawli and Kondegaon participated in a wildlife conervation awareness rally, drawing and essay writing competition and a nature trail. 120 students participated in these activities. 

Employment Cell - SEE TABLE 3

We organised 8 Village Eco-Development Committee (VEDC) meetings and 3 Self-Help Group (SHG) meetings focusing on alternative livelihoods which would reduce dependence on forests. Forest dependence leads to human-animal conflict and degradation of wild habitat.  209 villagers attended these meetings. In the SHG meetings, we discussed several livelihood related issues. We formed groups of members who are willing to be trained in making paper bags and in embroidery. 

As there is increasing tourism in buffer zone of Tadoba, some villagers requested us to organise a workshop to train women as nature guides. We shared success stories of women guides trained by us in Priyadarshini Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh. 45 members attended these meetings.  

In the VEDC meetings, we discussed human-animal conflict and wildlife conservation guidelines outside protected areas (PAs). We also focused on increasing usage of solar-powered fencing in farm lands to prevent conflict with wildlife, and to reduce the incidence of wild animals being killed by electrified fencing. We also discussed and explained short- and long-term benefits of fodder plantation. We discussed the rise in human-animal confrontation in and around Moharli and how to prevent this by adopting cattle sheds and stall feeding for cattle, to prevent straying of the animals into forests and falling prey to carnivores around the area. 144 villagers attended these meetings. 

Following a request from villagers, we organised a workshop on mushroom cultivation for residents of Katwal. We had earlier trained villagers in Pench to cultivate and market mushrooms, and their success has drawn villagers from Tadoba to emulate them. Mr. Abhimanyu of Sky Mushrooms, Nagpur visited Katwal and spoke to the candidates about mushroom cultivation and marketing etc. 20 interested candidates attended the workshop. Some of them also prepared a first batch of mushroom spawn for cultivation. They are cultivating oyster mushrooms as the local climate is suitable for it. 

Mobile Health Unit - SEE TABLE 4

During November, we organised free medical camps in 6 villages - Moharli, Bhamdeli, Sitarampeth, Kondegaon, Khutwanda and Katwal.  378 patients were treated in these camps.