BHUBANESWAR: Conservation is a daunting task. It not only needs innovativeness but also sound strategising. That is what Mahanadi Wildlife Division has shown by offering reward to locals for taking part in reviving Baisipalli Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the oldest protected areas of the State which is facing considerable human pressure.
In a first of its kind initiative in the State, the Division has declared that locals will be rewarded if they report poaching and movements of smugglers inside the sanctuary. This apart, those helping with information on firearms will also receive financial incentive. Reporting wildlife kill in periphery areas will also be rewarded.
However, it is not just information on illegal activities which will receive appreciation and incentives. The Division has announced that locals’ reporting of pug impressions, scats or pellets will also be suitably rewarded. The reward amounts will be distributed in public meetings to encourage as well as enrol more people in conservation measures.
Divisional Forest Officer of Mahanadi Anshu Pragyan Das said the reward fund corpus will be used for the initiative. “We used to give rewards only to people who gave us information on poaching confidentially. But its scope is being expanded. These are steps to build up as well as revive conservation areas in tiger landscapes which face heavy population pressure,” she said.
The initiative is aimed at spurring interest among locals in wildlife conservation and it has been broad-based. The forest officials are carrying out cluster-based study to elicit their response about conservation. Groups such as teachers, shopkeepers, farmers, women earning their livelihood and older people who were into conservation are being contacted so that their capacity can be built.
“We will conduct capacity building to win the confidence of locals in order to make them pro-conservation. These are methods to break ice with the locals in these areas. For tiger reserves, it is important to educate people who do not value conservation of wildlife,” Das said adding, such measures have been adopted in tiger reserves in other parts of the country and successfully too.
In about a year’s time, Mahanadi Wildlife Division officials have nabbed over 70 poachers of whom 30 were found to be locals. The 170 sq km sanctuary, Baisipalli, connects Satkosia Tiger Reserve to Mahanadi while linking Phulbani and Boudh to Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary, another tiger habitat of the State.
Wildlife Conservation Measure
Those helping with information on firearms will receive financial incentive
Reporting wildlife kill in periphery areas will be rewarded
Locals’ reporting of pug impressions, scats or pellets will also be suitably rewarded
The reward amounts will be distributed in public meetings to encourage and enrol more people in conservation measures
Aim is to spur interest among locals in wildlife conservation
In about a year’s time, Mahanadi Wildlife Division officials have nabbed over 70 poachers of whom 30 were found to be locals