New Delhi. India is land of diversity. There is not just a cultural diversity in India but Nature is also diverse too. This diversity is rich and divine. It is evident that this divine wealth is decreasing due to human being’s carelessness and selfish motives. Considering this Team HumariBaat on World Wildlife Day contacted Wildlife SOS, a leading trust that is constantly taking fine tuned steps in order to save our rich and an important component of the divine wealth of India i.e wildlife.
How To maintain Balance between Humans and Wildlife
While asking Wildlife SOS on this they replied to strictly increase awareness amongst people. As we interact with animals more, we must inculcate in ourselves and others empathy for these voiceless creatures and knowledge about how to co-exist with them.
To elaborate this they explained how Wildlife SOS has successfully conducted over 200 training workshops across India with various state Forest Departments. They have also worked with local communities in Central India to raise awareness in the field of human-elephant conflict mitigation. They further talked about their practical training workshops on this, in which over 1500 awareness workshops have been organized with various educational institutions on topics such as urban wildlife conflict mitigation, snake awareness, etc.
Other methods of creating balance include – the creation of protected areas within forested spaces, apt compensations for people negatively impacted by conflict, community education and participation.
Wildlife SOS has also started a 24-hour animal rescue hotline in the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), Agra, Jammu & Kashmir, and Vadodara, the main function of which is to help mitigate man-animal conflict situations. They recommended If we come across any wild animal in distress in the following cities, please alert our rescue team on these numbers as soon as possible!
- Delhi NCR – +91-9871963535
- Agra & Mathura in Uttar Pradesh – +91-9917109666
- Vadodara, Gujarat – +91-9825011117
- J&K – +91 7006692300, +91 9419778280
Solution to resolve Jungle Corridors issues
While replying to this issue, Wildlife SOS said that they are doing extensive conservation and research on the Deccan Plateau of eastern Karnataka. Like most areas, there is a lot of fragmented habitat in this part of India. Wildlife habitats are noticeable among the expansive agricultural fields and stick out like rocky islands in a sea of farmlands. Despite the fragmentation of the Deccan Plateau, it is still home to leopards, sloth bears, striped hyenas, and even wolves, not to mention smaller wildlife species including jungle cats, pangolins, crested porcupines, star tortoises, and a whole host of reptiles and birds. Wildlife SOS in 2006 took on the herculean task to restore 40 acres of land near Ramdurga Village in Koppal district, Karnataka to create a wildlife corridor and allow the vulnerable habitats that were at risk to link up with a Reserve Forest patch. In 2012, the habitat restoration project was expanded to an additional 10 acres. Wildlife SOS works with local communities and stakeholders, educating and empowering them to patrol and protect the forests.
These corridors are not confined to local roads but highways as well. By sharing some live experiences the trust elaborated that they have aided numerous animals who have become victims to road accidents and other cases of conflict caused by linear intrusions such as highways. To resolve this the trust explained that installation of floodlights or high-powered street lights will play an important role in sighting the animal from a distance, thus giving the time buffer for the vehicle to slow down. Every highway that is connected to a wildlife corridor should have clear signages and speed limitations that need to be strictly adhered to. Speed governors and traffic cameras can assist the Forest Department and the law enforcement authorities to identify incidents of over-speeding and levy hefty fines on the drivers.
There must be regulations in the expansion of highways, being mindful of those that share borders with dense forests. There should be a 15m to 20m buffer area on either side of the highway roads to allow the animals to be in the clear line of vision when speeding vehicles are approaching. This buffer area may also serve as a place for the animals to halt before approaching the highway, making it easier for passing vehicles to see them.
Since a large proportion of the fatalities happen at night, the best mitigation measure is thought to be the closure of roads through protected areas during nighttime traffic – a rule implemented on several highways in India, including those that run through Bandipur National Park and Nagarahole in Karnataka as well as Gir National Park in Gujarat. Experts have seen a drastic decline in the number of wildlife casualties, thus rallying for the night ban on highways running through national parks in various states across the country.
To Add that, Team HumariBaat feels Govt of India and the State Governments should consider this as a serious problem and by aligning with the trusts like Wildlife SOS, Government should come up with proper solution.
Wildlife SOS special programs down the year for Wildlife Conservation
Some of our key projects of Wildlife SOS are Eradicating the illegal practice of Dancing bears in India, Establishing the World’s largest Sloth bear Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre in Agra, Establishing India’s first and only Elephant Hospital, Elephant Conservation and Care Center, Mathura, Alternative livelihoods for marginalized communities to prevent wildlife poaching, Human-wildlife Conflict mitigation- specific focus on leopards, bears, elephants and reptiles, Wild elephant radio collaring and Early Warning System (EWS) establishment, Leopard Protection and Conservation, Anti-poaching Unit- ‘ForestWatch’, Habitat Conservation & Restoration, Wildlife Rescue Hotline in multiple locations, Conservation education & public awareness and many others
Special Message of Wildlife SOS on World Wildlife Day
India’s wildlife is under severe threat. While time is running out for these creatures, it’s not too late to help. This World Wildlife Day people can make a commitment to leading a wildlife-friendly life.
One can :
- Spread awareness, encourage other people to volunteer
- Pledge to never buy animal products, pay for animal performances, ride an animal or encourage captivity – and teach other people to be animal-friendly too!
- Become a monthly donor – continue to support the work being done by Wildlife SOS. visit wildlifesos.org to find out more
- Keep your eyes and ears open – inform local authorities, NGOs, and law enforcement about wildlife crime or abuse