Karnataka forest dept reaches out to schoolkids to spread literacy on man-animal conflict around Bandipur Tiger Reserve

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In a bid to reach out to the schoolchildren residing in villages abutting Bandipur Tiger Reserve, the Karnataka Forest Department has launched a three-year programme called Bandipur Yuva Yatra on January 2. It envisages to provide an opportunity for the underprivileged students to explore, understand, experience and learn more about the tiger reserve and its wildlife in the context of their immediate surroundings.

The programme promotes learning by exploring approaches through field visits and curriculum transactions related to forest, wildlife, forest ecosystem services and its conservation importance. The students attending the programme will be issued an ID card and they will be inducted as an eco-volunteer. The department aims that through this workshop, students would be able to communicate to the villagers about the human-animal conflict and the need to protect wildlife.

“The reserve is surrounded by 136 fringe villages within a distance of one km from the Tiger Reserve boundary. Historically, a close association existed between the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and the people residing in these fringe villages. But, after Bandipur was declared as the National Park (initial notification in the year 1974 & final notification in the year 2001) and Tiger Reserve (in the year 1973), there was a strict protection and people were restricted from entering the tiger reserve and given limited access for the use of forest resources,” an official from the tiger reserve said. “Further, due to various forms of Human-wildlife conflict and wildlife straying out in the farmers’ field the relationship strained. This Nature Education Program to local school students will create awareness about wildlife,” the official added.

“Therefore, students attending this Nature Education Program will volunteer for the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in creating positive park-people relations. They will convince the local people about the human-wildlife conflict and create awareness about the dos and don’ts, when the animals stray out,” he said.

There are over 800 government schools and 30 colleges in the taluks and villages abutting the reserve. “This programme aims to create close coordination among different stakeholders like the Forest department, education department, social welfare department, District Mineral Fund, United Nations Developed Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),” the official added.



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