Celebrating the Protectors of the Forests on World Ranger Day
An interactive session hosted by WWF-India
New Delhi, 02 August 2018: On 31stJuly, 2018, WWF-India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change marked World Ranger Day by bringing together frontline staff from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand forest departments for an interactive session with conservationists, students, researchers, journalists and government officials. By bringing the incredible stories that celebrate the lives of ‘Rangers’ to the people, the session titled ‘Vanrakshak Gosthi’ aimed to recognize the contribution of the frontline staff who work tirelessly to protect wildlife and their habitats.
As tiger landscapes become more fragmented, interactions between humans and tigers are more frequent and fraught with repercussions for both human well-being and survival of the tiger. The communities in tiger bearing regions of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh live in close proximity with this big cat, and incidents of human tiger conflict are quite common. In this scenario, the frontline staff who are at the first line of interaction between the local community and government, need to step in and confront the risks of managing cases of conflict.
By sharing understanding and experiences of human-carnivore conflict, the programme threw light on the complex scenario that develops in some areas. Through the interaction, the forest rangers asserted that despite the danger, they are committed to protecting wildlife, thereby conserving the natural heritage of the country. The forest rangers present in the interaction also encapsulated the true essence of animals living in harmony with humans by citing the example of farmlands in Amariya village of Pilibhit district in Uttar Pradesh where co-existence rather than conflict has been the norm. The number of tigers in Amariya, from a family of 3 has gone up to more than 10 individuals in the last five years, without causing any risk to humans and without the villagers harming them.
Speaking about the contribution of the frontline staff in wildlife conservation, Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India said, “On World Ranger Day, WWF-India salutes those who stand on the frontlines of conservation, protecting India's forests and its magnificent wildlife. Through building the capacity of frontline staff of forest departments on wildlife monitoring, wildlife crime control and use of advanced technology to providing medical and equipment support for their welfare, WWF-India stands by the unwavering courage of these brave men and women in helping protect our natural heritage.”
“It was inspiring to see the frontline staff members of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand forest departments come together to share their incredible hands-on experiences/ stories from the field. I congratulate them for their untiring contribution and exemplary dedication to help preserve and protect India’s national animal and its habitat,” said Dr. Anup Kr. Nayak, IFS, Member Secretary of NTCA.
WWF-India is also partnering with journalist, Sonali Prasad for an exhibition celebrating India's forest keepers. Called "Ranger Ranger", the exhibition at the Jorbagh Metro Station in New Delhi is an ongoing story telling project, displaying pictures of forest guards and providing a glimpse into the lives and complexities of the different people who protect India's forests and its magnificent wildlife. The exhibition is on display till 10 August 2018