Collaborative Poaching-Patrol

The Hindu— File Photo

We’ve written about the importance of forest stewards before, primarily because in many cases they straddle the roles of guard and guide within the territories they protect. But many of those protected areas in India are suffering from severe shortages of qualified field staff, putting enormous areas of land, not to mention the wildlife that call it home, at risk.

But the Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board is initiating an innovative plan to train volunteers to be forest naturalists who will assist the forestry department a minimum of two weeks per year in their anti-poaching activities.

In order to create this pool of trained volunteers, the Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board is offering, for the first time in the country, three- and four-day Naturalist and Volunteer Training. The board is offering the training programme in association with Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd.

“Volunteers were not trained till now. As census need to be conducted more often, the services of trained volunteers will be important,” Chief Executive Officer of the board Vinay Luthra told The Hindu.

“Currently, a forest guard has an area of about 20 square kilometres to monitor, which is a huge task.”

Trained volunteers will accompany guards into the forests during day and night, take the Global Positioning System (GPS) readings and photographs, and engage in bird-watching so as to help the department build a data base of birds and animals, he said, adding that trained volunteers will also assist in preventing forest fires.

For details about Naturalist and volunteer training programme, interested persons can call 080-25584131. We’re excited to hear that Organikos contributor Brinda Suresh has already begun the training! We’re looking forward to sharing more about that here!

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