It is challenging to deal with man-animal conflict, especially in areas where tribals and animals breathe the same air. In such cases what happens is that hunt and wild animals retaliate when they sense danger. To resolve such issues Wildlife SOS has always been on its toes. The organization’s goal has been to help the local communities to co-exist with leopards and enlarge tolerance, instead of fearing them.
Wildlife SOS had organized a painting competition for children belonging from the Thakar tribe at Rajor village, Junnar, a human habitation which is ten kilometers away from our Manikdoh Leopard rescue center, Maharashtra. It was organized under the supervision of Dr. Ajay, Senior Veterinary officer and the center head of the Leopard rescue center. “This competition is a part of our educational awareness programme which we run for tribal children residing in the forests. The ‘Adivasis’ are prone to hunting and we want these youngsters to understand that it is illegal and damages the natural habitat. The painting competition which we had organized is amongst many of our efforts taken to spread awareness.” said Dr. Ajay.
All the 60 participants belonged to 14-16 years of age group. Wildlife SOS had distributed drawing sheets and colours to these children and had given them ten days time to come up with the paintings. The results were declared on September 16, 2014 after analyzing all the submitted paintings. First, second and third prizes were given to the deserving participants along with the certificates. And to make sure that the children should stay motivated for such programmes, Wildlife SOS had distributed certificates for participation amongst all the partakers.
Raju Dhomase, a teacher at the Rajor Ashram School also praised the efforts which Wildlife SOS has been making to conserve wildlife habitat. He said, “This competition was a unique experience for the kids. They live in the jungles but no one is there to guide them on issues related to wildlife. I am really thankful to Wildlife SOS and Dr. Ajay for their efforts. I hope that many such programmes should be organized to resolve man-animal conflict in this region.”
Wildlife SOS was amazed to see how these children could relate to nature. They came up with many colourful ideas through their paintings. From leopards to the ‘Raju’ elephant, they had painted all the animals they could think of.
Dr Ajay said that the event couldn’t have been possible without the support of Sanjay Kadu, Range Forest Officer, Junnar. He even praised his colleagues Mahendra Dore, Assistant Vet and Salim Sheikh, Animal Keeper for their hard work in making the event successful.