The Dieter & Liz Gutmann Tiger Conservation Program

Mr. Dieter Gutmann and Mrs Liz Gutmann have generously supported Tiger Watch-led interventions in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve for the last 15 years, especially through our antipoaching and rehabilitation efforts with the Mogya traditional hunting tribe.

The result was clear: the tiger population rebounded to its highest level ever recorded, and today, tigers are beginning to repopulate areas outside Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve naturally.

However, while this is a marked improvement, some gaps still require addressing. The Gutmanns have chosen to formulate and support a comprehensive umbrella program that is now the backbone of Tiger Watch, allowing us to consolidate our existing interventions and expand upon the larger landscape.

This is happening primarily through two interventions:

Bagh Mitra Tiger Conservation Awareness Program

There is an urgent need to sensitise children of communities that have an anthropogenic impact on Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. Negative anthropogenic pressure is the biggest threat to the tiger and the ecosystem in the long term and therefore requires a long-term solution.

Connecting the aforesaid children to their location and context meaningfully and preparing them to act and participate in future conservation interventions is therefore of the utmost importance for the long-term well-being of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve.

This is the core pillar of the Dieter & Liz Gutmann Tiger Conservation Program, and the scope includes 65 villages in and around the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Sawai Madhopur district. The methodology here entails the identification of high and low-priority villages in terms of anthropogenic pressure, the development of specialized awareness material, and the training of a mobile team of teachers to impart conservation-relevant education in village schools. Most importantly, this means the communication of the ecological significance of the tiger on a mass scale that is completely unprecedented.

This large-scale intervention is executed by a mobile team of 4 teachers led by a coordinator.

Science & Research

Tiger Watch has published over  50 pioneering research studies which have sourced information from previously inaccessible landscapes in the greater Ranthambhore landscape and forged new horizons in wildlife conservation research. Research has focused on endangered and vulnerable species such as the caracal (Caracal caracal), gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and grey wolf (Canis lupus pallipes).

Such research is of vital importance for it has not only informed our conservation interventions but is also policy-relevant both locally and nationally, as we saw with the change of the caracal’s status in India to that of an endangered species in 2021 by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (Government of India) following the publication of our study on distribution (Not be confused with the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) status for the caracal).

Such research is also important for the occurrence of indicator species in the landscape and can also give more information about trends such as climate change and other anthropogenic problems.

This research can also indicate other trends. For example, the caracal can act as an indicator species for populations of apex predators like tigers and larger sympatric mesopredators in an ecosystem like leopards.

Updates

Program Update                                  Friday, March 1, 2024

Fateh Singh Rathore Memorial Lecture & Wildlife Conservation Awards

On March 1st, 2024, during the 12th Fateh Singh Rathore Memorial Lecture & Wildlife Conservation Awards, Mr Dieter Gutmann was awarded the Fateh Singh Rathore Services to Wildlife, People and Nature Award in recognition of his conservation and awareness efforts by supporting community empowerment and rehabilitation activities in and around Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve through the auspices of the Bagh Mitra Tiger Conservation Program.

Following this, Mr Gutmann also gave an insightful speech on both he and his wife Liz’s (who was also present) journey into big cat conservation and tiger conservation in particular, a story that Tiger Watch has been involved with since their interaction with our late founder Fateh Singh Rathore himself in 2005.

Please find a transcription of Mr Gutmann’s speech here

Program Update                                  Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Bagh Mitra Tiger Conservation Awareness Program Annual Quiz

Third Week of 2024 (14-21 Jan): Our team of teachers organised an annual environmental awareness quiz in the schools participating in The Bagh Mitra Tiger Conservation Awareness Program in the  Sawai Madhopur chapter (Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve).
 
The number of participating students varied from 30-50 across the schools and top three scorers from each school were awarded with a prize of a school bag, notebook, and pen.
 
The winners of the drawing and mandana painting competition from the participating schools were also awarded with the same first, second and third prizes. Earlier, overall winners (among 6000 students) of the drawing competition were awarded post the training workshop of Bagh Mitra teachers at the event held in Sawai Madhopur.
 
The Bagh Mitra Tiger Conservation Awareness Program is our first mass outreach program with a team of specially trained mobile teachers going to villages bordering the tiger reserves to provide an environmental education throughout the academic year. The Sawai Madhopur chapter is supported by Dieter & Liz Gutmann as a part of the Dieter & Liz Gutmann Tiger Conservation Program.

Program Update                                  Friday, December 01, 2023

Bagh Mitra Tiger Conservation Awareness Program Teacher Training Workshop & Annual Mandana Painting Competition

From November 27th to December 1st 2023, the program teachers attended their second teacher training workshop this year at Dhonk Café. Along with revisions and being tested on subject material and classroom teaching methods by Dr. Dharmendra Khandal and Praveen Kumar, the workshop also included practical experiences such as training on how to correctly conduct guided nature walks for students and a visit to the Ranthambhore National Park to better understand the landscape’s biodiversity and to communicate its relevance to students from local communities.

 

Particular importance was given to the following topics:
  • Objectives of the Bagh Mitra Program, and the role of teachers in achieving them.
  • Importance of Tigers, problems faced by the villagers residing in or at the periphery of protected areas.
  • Different types of ecosystems and the ecosystem services provided by them.

The workshop concluded with the final day of the annual Mandana painting (local folk style with a focus on themes to do with nature and biodiversity ) competition in which 6050 students from the Bagh Mitra Tiger Conservation Awareness Program participated (carried out over two months).

We were also fortunate to be graced by the presence of Sh. P. Kathirvel , CCF(IFS) & Field Director, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve and Sh. Jailabdeen A. of the Gharial Ecology Project (Madras Crocodile Bank), both of whom felicitated the competition’s winners and further encouraged the program.

The Bagh Mitra Tiger Conservation Awareness Program is our first mass outreach program with a team of specially trained mobile teachers going to villages bordering the tiger reserves to provide a holistic environmental education throughout the academic year. The Sawai Madhopur chapter of this program has been consistently supported by the Dieter & Liz Gutmann Tiger Conservation Program.

Program Update                                Friday, May 26, 2023

Bagh Mitra Education Program Annual Report 2022-2023

The Bagh Mitra Education Program was successfully initiated in 38 villages on the peripheries of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in August 2022 as a part of the Dieter & Liz Gutmann Tiger Conservation Program after requisite training was provided by Dr. Dharmendra Khandal of Tiger Watch and others. By the conclusion of the first year, 5 program teachers together with 13500 students from 69 schools in 53 villages, covered 14 topics in environmental education in addition to a painting competition, a competitive quiz, an essay competition, regional museum tours and sports activity programs.

The attached annual report includes all the details of the program for those interested.

Program Update                                  Monday, January 23, 2023

Galvanizing Grassroots: The Relevance of Local Community Education to Wildlife Conservation

 We held a 4 day workshop from December 9th to 12th 2022 for the teachers of our Mogya Education Program ( MEP ) and Bagh Mitra Education Program (Conservation awareness wing of Dieter & Liz Gutmann Tiger Conservation Program).

 We were honoured to be joined by leading experts in the field such as Dr. Dhirendra Devarshi, Mr Amar Deshpande, Mr Nimesh Ved, Mr Amit Gupta and Mrs Richa Gupta (they were accompanied by their young son Padmaksh who also volunteers with our interventions in education).

 The topics covered ranged from the purpose of education, teaching methods, to the conservation relevance of local community education.

The final sessions also included more hands on experience such as conducting nature walks.

Program Update                                    Thursday, November 17, 2022

 

During Wildlife Week we held a painting competition & wildlife pop quiz for 2,500 students from the wildlife conservation awareness wing of the Dieter & Liz Gutmann #Tiger Conservation Program (Bagh Mitra Program).

More than 1000 of the students who participated are girls . The objective of the painting competition was to connect the students to the forests of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve and their own cultural roots through the arts. The girl students really outdid themselves and produced exceptional paintings based on the folk Mandna style of this region:

  1. On November 4th 2022, 25 girl students selected for their art visited Tiger Watch headquarters (Dhonk Farm) where their paintings were put on display. All 25 students received tokens of appreciation and consolation prizes , whereas the 3 winners : Manisha Sharma, Krishna Bairwa & Komal Saini received cash prizes of INR 5000, 3000 and 2000 respectively.
  2.  We are grateful to Mrs Divya Khandal of Dhonk and her team of talented artisans for conceptualizing and leading this workshop. Mrs Khandal also spoke to the students about the importance of preserving our natural and cultural heritage, and how pursuing the arts can contribute to such preservation.
  3. We are also grateful to Mrs Kalponika Mondal of Camp Paridhi Niwas for attending as Chief Guest and speaking to the students about opportunities in ecotourism and women owned businesses.
  4. We would also like to thank our team of teachers Dharmsingh Gurjar Maharro Ramkesh Gurjer Dashrath Singh Gurjar and Rinku Yogi for presiding over this event

Program Update                                    Monday, October 3 2022

 

The Conservation Awareness wing of the Dieter & Liz Gutmann Tiger Conservation Program has now been active since August 2022 and the following developments have occurred:

 

  1. 4 teachers (all either graduates or postgraduates) cover 13 village schools each (a total of 52 village schools), bordering the Ranthambhore National Park and Sawai Mansingh Wildlife Sanctuary and are currently teaching 10,500 students. These are areas with high densities of tigers and a good place for the program to start. These villages are not benefitting from any other wildlife conservation education programs.
  2. Educational material in Hindi has been prepared and is being disseminated. Educators from other parts of Rajasthan have also requested this material where relevant to them, such as a poster on venomous snakes and snakebite treatment. This material will soon be available for all to download on this webpage.
  3. Special activities have been designed for 2,500 students during Wildlife Week ( October 3rd to October 8th 2022) with the assistance of Mrs. Divya Khandal. 1000 students are girls. Activities include a painting competition, and a wildlife centric pop quiz.
  4. Topics taught at the schools have so far included the significance of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve ( otherwise not a part of the national curriculum taught at local schools). Detailed lessons on the fauna and flora of the Tiger Reserve and it’s peripheral areas have also been delivered, as well as pressing matters such as the challenges presented by climate change.
  5. Plans are underway to expand this program into schools in the environs of the Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary with the addition of 4 more teachers to this team.

Program Update                                     Friday, July 15 2022

Our wildlife conservation awareness efforts first started under the auspices of the Bagh Mitra School Program in 2020. Infrastructural support such as libraries were built in 20 schools on the peripheries of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. Select wildlife conservation friendly literature in Hindi was also provided by Ektara India. What seemed like a promising start was unfortunately interrupted as a result of COVID-19 but has now fortunately not just been renewed, but also expanded under the auspices of the Dieter & Liz Gutmann Tiger Conservation Program.

The program is now gearing up to make a tangible impact in 40 key villages to start with:

 

  1. 4 teachers (all either graduates or postgraduates) have been hired.
  2. The 4 teachers will cover 40 villages bordering the Ranthambhore National Park and Sawai Mansingh Wildlife Sanctuary. These are areas with high densities of tigers and a good place for the program to start. These villages are not benefitting from any other wildlife conservation education programs.
  3. A 1-month training period for the teachers commenced on Monday, July 4th
  4. Educational material in Hindi is currently being prepared and will be put through a trial period in the schools starting in August, 2022. Following which, this material will be available for all to download on this webpage.

Teacher training with Dr. Dharmendra Khandal on Monday, July 4th 2022.

Address: Maa Farm,
Ranthambhore Road, Post Khilchipur,
District Sawai Madhopur,
322 001, Rajasthan,
INDIA

(+91) 90015 07777