By Aishuwarya Sudarshan
Wildlife SOS celebrated Wildlife Week this year with the usual pomp and enthusiasm as always in the past. Wildlife SOS team members in different parts of India organized and participated in awareness activities and events for wildlife sensitization.
Awareness programs, documentary screening, nature walks and participation in plantation program held by the Forest department marked the event in Agra where Wildlife SOS runs the biggest Sloth Bear rescue centre. Baiju Raj, Wildlife SOS coordinator in Agra said â€œLike last year we held awareness workshops in a few schools where we showed them movies and talked to them about Indiaâ€™s bears, tigers, leopards and elephants and the threats they face and what can be the solutions. The children seemed to really enjoy the discussions and the movies. We also organized a nature walk in collaboration with the Taj Hotel in Agra.â€
Wildlife SOS also participated in the Haryana governments Wildlife Week celebration with a Reptile Awareness Workshop aimed to refute superstitions regarding snakes and monitor lizards and increase peopleâ€™s knowledge about the local reptile population. Sanjay Acharya, Wildlife SOS team member who participated at the Wildlife Week celebration in Haryana said â€œWith increased awareness and information we can help conservation as most people do not know the basics about the wildlife in their backyard. This leads to ignorance, fear and superstition. With this type of workshops we hope to alleviate peopleâ€™s fear of reptiles and other wildlife and encourage them to play a more active role in wildlife conservation.
In Tamil Nadu Widlifes SOS partnered with Zoo Outreach Organisation, Coimbatore, Zoology Madura College and Netaji Snake Trust, Madurai to hold a two day workshop on bio diversity as part of the Wildlife Week program.
In Bilaspur, Chattisgarh the Wildlife SOS Chhattisgarh Chapter decided to do awareness campaign on Elephant conservation due to the recent spate of issues and conflicts that has taken place with wild elephants. So to celebrate wildlife week a screening of wildlife documentaries for school students was organized. It was agreed that a documentary film show is the most interesting medium to reach out and hold on to the attentions of school students and make them aware about elephant issues and man-animal conflict in general.
Wildlife SOS in collaboration with the District Administration (DM) arranged the screening of Mike Pandey’s Movie The Last Migration for the students of different schools of the city. The reason for choosing this particular film for screening was because it showed the capturing of a herd of wild elephants in Sarguja District of Chattisgarh that had migrated from Sighbhum district of Jharkhand.
The Devakinandan Hall, with a capacity of 500 people played hosts for three days to different schools of the city. WSOS Volunteer in Chattisgarh, Mr. Vikrant Sone offered to explain the vocals in Hindi for the benefit of all the children most of whom were from vernacular schools. Meetu Gupta of Wildlife SOS Chattisgarh said â€œWe were happy and encouraged to see that the auditorium was fully packed for every show and the children as well as their teachers enjoyed the experience. Many of them came up to us and discussed their experiences and shared their views of the situation. Hopefully we will be able to organize more such events in other places in the state.â€
Apart from that a Marathon was also held to create consciousness for Tiger Conservation. Wildlife SOS team members, volunteers, school children as well as the DM took part in it. A talk show for college students on wildlife awareness was the third event that made up the Wildlife Week celebrations in Bilaspur.
The District Magistrate of Bilaspur, Mr. Sonmoni Borah said â€œWildlife SOS is doing remarkable work in the field of wildlife conservation. We are happy to support them in their efforts to create awareness among the younger generation who hold the countryâ€™s future in their hands. In trying to sensitize them to a crucial part of their heritage, we also ensure that the heritage remains intact for more generations to come.â€
In Delhi the Wildlife SOS team had the biggest celebration for Wildlife Week, with a special animal helpline to help wildlife during the CWG celebration. Round the clock rescue of wildlife seemed the best way to celebrate Wildlife Week.