Vanamitra, the organization with a vision to involve common people in wildlife conservation
When we talk about conservation of wildlife; have we ever thought why should we do that? Well, this is because our entire life is dependent on wildlife. Various animal species maintain the ecological balance, which keeps the food chain going. Also, wildlife helps nature to sustain itself in many ways and reduces manual efforts of growing trees and taking care of them. But, due to lack of knowledge about these important facts, day by day, human-wildlife conflicts are increasing, resulting in a huge decline in wildlife count.
Vanamitra, an initiative started by Suresh Kumar and Jaishankar to teach people to co-exist with the wildlife. They started this organization, when they witnessed human-wildlife conflicts due to the poor awareness on how to deal with it.
I was passing through the railway gate and saw lots of people gathered near the transformer. Few were having long sticks and iron rods in their hands…one guy hit the iron rod in the box and said ‘just missed’. I immediately rushed there and held the iron rod in my hand and asked everyone to move away. Then, with the help of a snake hook, I brought the snake out. It was very well built, 6.5 feet in length and very heavy to handle with a snake hook. It opened its hood which was very beautiful. I thanked God for showing me this majestic creature. Checked for the wounds and there was a very small cut near the neck, which will heal by itself. The crowd became silent on seeing this beauty and some of them said, ‘We would have made a big mistake if we had killed this beautiful creature’. Then I said ‘Killing and Rescuing takes the same time; and the choice is yours,’ shares a member of the Vanamitra team.
This is one of the many cases of human-wildlife conflict that the Vanamitra team solves almost every day. The constant encroachment of humans into wildlife territories has resulted in the decimation of wildlife populations. Vanamitra is one such organization which is constantly doing their bit to conserve the environment. It is a wildlife conservation trust which engages common people in conservation, with a special focus on the conservation of leopards.
Our mission is to set up a Conservation Model involving local people, so that it can be replicated across India, Suresh says.
Vanamitra believes in creating an ecosystem where humans and wildlife co-exist in harmony. They educate people to deal with human-wildlife conflict in a healthy way. They have successfully solved the snake-human conflict in urban houses. Whenever there is an incident of a snake entering a house, the team rescues the snake from inside the house and simply leaves it just outside the house. Though it sounds shocking, but the reason behind is amazing to know.
If you capture a snake and leave it in a far and different location, the reptile will have to find a new source of food, a place to hide and it will also have to deal with other territorial snakes. On failing to do so, the snake eventually dies.We have to understand that even snakes do not want to enter the urban accommodation. They must have entered by mistake. And hardly one or two such incidents happen in a year. So, if we leave them just outside, they will return to their regular habitat away from the human settlement, explained Suresh.
So far Vanamitra has managed to reunite 12 leopard cubs with their mothers, hand-raised 5 orphaned leopard cubs, saved thousands of wild animals and educated more than 20,000 people about wildlife conservation. Along with Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Forest Department, CID Forest Cell as well as Police Departments, Vanamitra could stop considerable Wildlife Trading and Poaching Rackets.
Image Credit: deccanherald