WWF-India salutes the spirit of forest guards on Global Tiger Day

Awareness activities organized with school students to encourage support for India’s frontline staff

29th July 2013, Seijosa, Arunachal Pradesh: On the occasion of Global Tiger Day, WWF-India organized an event at the Vivekananda KendraVidyalaya in Seijosa village with school students to honor forest guards for their contribution towards tiger conservation. This event was organized under WWF’s global campaign, Cards 4 Tigers, which was launched in 2012 to raise awareness about the life of forest guards and encourage appreciation amongst the general public towards their work. It was attended by Mr.Nabum Rebia, Parliament Secretary, Dept of Science and Technology, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Mr. N.N. Zhasa, Principal Secretary, Dept of Environment & Forests, Mr. P. Ringu, Dy. Conservator of Forests and Mr. Tana Tapi, DFO of Pakke Tiger Reserve.

Forest guards are the foot soldiers of tiger conservation who work tirelessly in extreme conditions to ensure the safety of India’s wildlife, especially tigers. However, little is known about their lives, the hardships they face, and the work they do. Through the Cards 4 Tigers campaign, WWF-India profiled the lives of forest guards from different tiger landscapes, and encouraged individuals to send post cards with messages of appreciation for them. The Strike Force from Pakke Tiger Reserve, a team of 16 ex-army personnel and local youth, especially trained in Guerilla Warfare, were selected to represent all forest guards from the North-East. The story of their lives touched thousands of individuals across the country and the world, who sent post cards with personal messages in recognition of their efforts, courage and bravery.

On 28th July 2013, WWF-India organized painting, drawing, story writing and skit competitions amongst students of 4 schools, on topics of tiger conservation and role of forest guards. The winners of these competitions were given an opportunity to present their stories and skits to the Strike Force on 29th July at this event. Two students personally handed over the postcards received for the team, along with a memento and a pair of binoculars from WWF-India.

Dr. Anupam Sarmah, Head, Assam Landscapes, WWF-India, in his opening speech, said, “WWF-India works closely with the Forest Department to achieve its conservation objectives. We interact with the frontline staff regularly for capacity building and training programmes, and are aware of the hardships they face inside the forests. Through this campaign, it was our endevour to garner public support for these silent heroes.”

As the team accepted these postcards and the memento,Mr. Vishal Nabum, member of the Strike Force said, “We are overwhelmed by this surge of support for us and our fellow forest guards working in the North East. We spend days patrolling these forest, away from our families and disconnected from the outside world. It is heartening to realize that people are aware of what we do, and appreciate our efforts. We are especially touched to receive these postcards from young students, and hope they are inspired to contribute to the cause of tiger conservation.” Another member Mr. Philip said “… we face grave dangers from wildlife in the park but we want to continue working here for our wildlife. We love our patrolling duty. We want the children of today to grow up and join the forest department.”

The Chief Guest, Mr. Nabum Rebia, Parliamentary  Secretary, Dept of Science and Technology, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, addressed the students stressed on the saying ‘Live and Let Live’. He said, “Pakke is a blessed land with its wildlife and people working for their conservation and learning from nature”. He urged upon the students to take up planting trees and spread the message of conservation. He also said, “I will be the first one to stand up for conservation and urge organizations like WWF to take up work related to monitoring and protection of Pakke.”

In the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, WWF-India concentrates its conservation efforts in three landscapes, the North Bank, Kaziranga Karbi-Anglong and Western Arunachal. As part of its conservation strategy, WWF-India works towards mitigating human wildlife conflict, monitoring tigers and important wildlife corridors, reducing poaching and illegal wildlife trade, expanding the distribution of rhinos within Assam, building community based conservation, and securing trans-boundary cooperation.

About WWF-India

WWF-India is one of the largest conservation organizations engaged in wildlife protection and environment preservation in the country, for over four decades now. As a part of the WWF-International network, the organisation has made its presence felt through a sustained effort towards both nature and wildlife conservation and reduction in humanity’s ecological footprint. With its extensive network of state offices, the organisation sensitises people through creating awareness, building capacity and offering enviro-legal support. A challenging, constructive, science-based organisation, WWF-India addresses issues like the survival of species, habitat conservation and climate change. (www.wwfindia.org)

About Cards 4 Tigers Campaign

In July 2012, WWF launched a global campaign, Cards 4 Tigers, with an aim to raise awareness about the
life of forest guards and encourage appreciation from the general public towards their work for tiger conservation. The campaign was launched in seven countries, India, Nepal, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, and the best and bravest forest guards from different tiger landscapes in these countries were chosen to represent the entire community of forest guards. Five Indian forest guards were chosen from 5 landscapes, and more than 4000 cards were received for them from across the country. Their stories also inspired many individuals from other countries, such as US, UK, Ireland, Spain, Sydney, Melbourne, and postcards flew in from every continent for the guards.

For more information please download zip file from https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz9Lurek8Q6FWHRCWWZDb2otVHM/edit?usp=sharing

 

 

RSVP:

Sonali Nandrajog |Assistant Manager, Communications and Campaigns

sonali.nandrajog@wwf.panda.org | 011-4150-4783

 

 

Pallabi Chakraborty |Project Officer, WWF India – NBL Conservation Programme

pallabi.shillong@gmail.com, 09678495132

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