The Dieter & Liz Gutmann Tiger Conservation Program

About

Sh. Dieter Gutmann and Smt. Liz Gutmann have generously supported Tiger Watch led local community engagement in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve for the last 15 years, especially through our rehabilitation efforts of members of the Moghiya traditional hunting tribe. The result was there for all to see, the tiger population rebounded to the highest it has ever been recorded, and today tigers are beginning to naturally repopulate areas outside Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve such as in Dholpur district. The rebound was such that Tiger Watch also initiated a new program called the Village Wildlife Volunteers which engages pastoral youth living on the peripheries of Ranthambhore in monitoring the burgeoning number of tigers moving outside the protected areas. They soon became a formidable team which also mitigated human-wildlife conflict and developed significant antipoaching credentials in their own right.

Approach

However, while this is a marked improvement, there were still some gaps that required addressing and the Gutmanns have chosen to formulate and support a comprehensive umbrella program that rests on four pillars.

 

1. Vocational Training for the Moghiya Traditional Hunting Tribe

While the Moghiya Education Program brings about change through education for the next generation of the tribe, vocational training for older members of the tribe is necessary to wean the community off of poaching as much as possible. The Gutmanns’ experience in providing a pension for the widow of Jugraj Moghiya, a reformed tiger poacher has informed this endeavour.

 

2. Conservation Awareness Program

There is an urgent need to sensitize children of communities that will have an anthropogenic impact on Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. Connecting the aforesaid children to their location and context in a meaningful manner and preparing them to act and participate in future conservation interventions is 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 300 villages in and around the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. 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 schoolteachers to impart conservation relevant education.

This large-scale intervention will be executed by a mobile team of 7 teachers led by a coordinator.

 

3. 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 own 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).

 

4. Capacity Building for Law Enforcement

Tiger Watch also plays a role in building the capacity of agencies of both the state and central governments in key areas. Our long history of anti-poaching enables us to provide critical knowledge on identifying contraband from the illegal wildlife trade, the collection of evidence, as well as a backgrounder on traditional hunting tribes and trading communities such as the Moghiyas, for which there are no readily available resources for law enforcement officers. So far, four principal law enforcement agencies and police detectives from 8 states in India have benefitted from this exercise. The continuation of such a public-private initiative is necessary to provide a robust response to the illegal wildlife trade.

Activity

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