Tiger Watch Ranthambhore runs programs with the explicit aim of creating more awareness of the natural heritage of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve and the challenges that plague the landscape. While the programs were always oriented towards sensitizing local communities, the advent of the Village Wildlife Volunteer Program has allowed a more direct connection to local communities to emerge and has also allowed the process to be led by local communities themselves.
1. Ranthambhore Grammin Vanyajeev Sammelan (10 days intensive Awareness program)
The Ranthambhore Gramin Vanya-Jeev Sammelan started on June 5th, 2017 and continued till June 14th, 2017. This workshop was planned for the sensitization of the local community towards the natural heritage of Ranthambhore and to increase their trust in the Village Wildlife Volunteer program so that the network could become stronger and the flow of information could be accelerated.
- To promote active and direct participation of local communities in conservation.
- To make the local community aware of the natural heritage of Ranthambhore and its importance.
- To nurture a support group for the Village Wildlife Volunteers comprising of members from local communities.
- To expand & strengthen the network of Village Wildlife Volunteers in the local community and accelerate the flow of information.
- To celebrate the peace and harmony between local communities and wildlife.
The selection of individuals was by the Village Wildlife Volunteers themselves, every volunteer selected 5 individuals from the local communities of their area; the selection was done in a way that each volunteer had to select 1 individual from his own village and other 4 were selected from two distinct villages (two from each village), so that there were individuals from 3 different villages and they were underwent a formal registration to ensure his/her consent. Through this, a total of 169 individuals from 90 different villages were enlightened and made aware about their own Tiger Reserve and its natural heritage.
The Ranthambhore Gramin Vanya-Jeev Sammelan embarked on World Environment Day, instigating a common theme- “Connecting people to nature”. The customary ideology of ‘community for conservation’ was put out by the numerous personalities present- Mr. Y.K. Sahu (former CCF & Field Director), Mr. Valmik Thapar, Mr. Balendu Singh, Mr. Goverdhan Singh Rathore, the then newly appointed DFOs of Ranthambhore and Kailadevi division, Mr. Biju Joy and Mr. Kapil Chandrawal along with several officials of Forest Department- Mr. Daulat Singh (ACF retd.), Mr. Sandeep Sharma (ACF), Mr. Sandeep Kumar (ACF) etc. and 25 Village Wildlife Volunteers. The event took place in the Old Sevika Hospital, Sherpur, Sawai Madhopur; in collaboration with the Ranthambhore Forest Department.
By the overall response of the villagers who visited during the 10 days sammelan, representing 90 different villages, it could be concluded that the objective of organizing this sammelan was successfully met. The biggest concern of the villagers – the matter of cattle compensation, was well handled and all the complications were mitigated as the process has now been simplified and amount is doubled. The villagers who were previously unsupportive before the Sammelan, became sensitive to the issues of Forest management and pledged to promote peaceful co-existence of humans & wildlife.
The Ranthambhore Gramin Vanya Jeev Sammelan was held as an initiative to establish active communication between the Forest department and local communities. It was successfully commenced under humble guidance provided by Forest officials who attended the sammelan daily to convince around 169 individuals belonging to 90 different villages, for participating in and supporting conservation measures. This Sammelan also helped the Forest dept. seek out the problems which villagers experience on a daily basis while residing in and around forest areas. The Ranthambhore Gramin Vanya Jeev Sammelan also became a platform for the villagers to directly interact with the forest officials and express their grievances.
2. Ganthjoda: Grahani Sehyog Shivirs
A 2 days rendezvous was organized by Tiger Watch Ranthambhore and Dhonk Craft under the guidance of the former CCF Ranthambhore, Mr. YK Sahu. The mission was to sensitize, include & empower the wives of our Village Wildlife Volunteers (VWV). The first step was to make them feel proud of their husbands (the Village Wildlife Volunteers) for the role they play in wildlife conservation in and around the Greater Ranthambhore Landscape. All in all, 15 Village Wildlife Volunteer couples participated in various sessions and activities focused on awareness. Orientation Day (5 Jan, 2018), commenced with a team introduction and a collective sharing of past experiences in the Village Wildlife Volunteer program through presentations and a feature film.
The next day began with a morning Safari to the Ranthambhore National Park Mr. Y.K. Sahu (former CCF & Field Director, Ranthambhore) and Mr. Rajendra Singh (Wildlife enthusiast) deserve a special mention for the enthusiasm with which they conducted this exposition! During the safari, Mr. Dharamsingh (Forest Guard), an excellent birder, guided the ladies through the natural heritage of Ranthambhore and how it is now an excellent model for Tiger Conservation all around the world. After returning from park, the attendees had breakfast at Dhonk and joined in the sessions which were: An Intro to the Village Wildlife Volunteer Program conducted by Ms. Meenu Dhakad (Programme Officer, Tiger Watch).
Ms. Prerna Aggarwal (Sociologist, RTCF) spoke about programs under the Van-Dhan yogna and other schemes run by the Rajasthan Government dovetailed under the Van-Dhan Yojana.
Ms. Divya Khandal (Director, Dhonk Craft) discussed a woman’s place in societal change and how crucial it is to be equal partners with their husbands in Tiger Conservation efforts. She also spoke about the various opportunities for women to develop crucial skills provided by organizations such as Dhonk Craft. The women were thrilled by the ‘handblock printing’ session courtesy Dhonk Craft which they witnessed for the first time. After the interactive sessions, everybody had lunch and moved onto some fun activities such as the ‘Tug of War’ which was held between the Village Wildlife Volunteers and their wives; the ‘Jalebi Jump Competition’ and finally the wives tied a Pagdi ( ceremonial turban) each on their husbands as a way of showing their respect and appreciation for their husbands hard work. The couples were honored with prizes and tokens of gratitude. Their wives responded enthusiastically to this seminal initiative and expressed a desire to participate in such activities more often. This was indeed a successful two-day camp
3. Ongoing awareness program
Every year many school groups have attended Tiger Watch talk and slide shows. These groups usually visit from metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and even outside the country. These groups were earlier addressed by Fateh ji but now Dr. Dharmendra Khandal, Ms. Divya khandal and Ms. Meenu Dhakad address them.
Address: Maa Farm,
Ranthambhore Road, Post Khilchipur,
District Sawai Madhopur,
322 001, Rajasthan,
(+91) 90015 07777