Children’s Day was celebrated on the 14th of this month, and as a reminder of what this day stands for, it is important to talk about the role of education in cultivating a generation that cares about the planet. Access to education is something that every child deserves, but unfortunately, there are still over 600 million children worldwide that do not have access to basic education. And one must remember that children need to be given more than just basic literacy — they need holistic education. Keeping this in mind, the team at Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre (BBRC) in Karnataka has been conducting various sessions with students this month to engage them in wildlife conservation.
On 2nd November, the Wildlife SOS team conducted a session with Government High School, Ramasagara Doddi. The discussion was held with 152 students of 8th, 9th and 10th grades where they were told about wildlife conservation, which was followed by the screening of our bear safety film “Living With Sloth Bears.“
A Q&A session took place right after, where the students were encouraged to ask questions. The queries ranged from “what to do when you see a Sloth bear?” to “how can we contribute towards wildlife conservation?”. The session was attended by 11 officials from the forest department including the Range Forest Officer (RFO).
The evening session on the same day was held at Government PU college, Gudekote. A total of 139 students from the 8th, 9th, and 10th grades attended this session. The Range Forest Officer was present for this session as well, along with three forest officials, and spoke about some tips on how to avoid encounters with Sloth bears in the wild.
These sessions were the need of the hour in these regions where there is a high Sloth bear population, making the spotting of a Sloth bear extremely likely. Contrary to the name, Sloth bears aren’t “sloth-like” or lazy, and can be very reactive and defensive if they feel threatened. The Living With Sloth Bears film showcases what one should do to avoid disturbing Sloth bears, as well as the right way to react if you ever face a Sloth bear in the forest. The film is available in many languages so that it can be better understood by people all across India.
The next session, held on the morning of 3rd November, was conducted with Shubhodaya Primary School, Gudekote. Students from the 5th to the 8th grade attended during the morning. The school administration appreciated the session and felt that it was important for younger students to know about this subject as well, so another round was conducted with students of 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade. In total, about 152 students gained awareness about the Sloth bear species during the session.
In the evening, the education team headed to Sarvodaya High School, a boys’ residential school for an awareness session with 65 students. The audience also comprised 10 staff members and three forest officials, including the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO). Since these school is located in the vicinity of a forest, they were highly interactive during the session and posed a lot of interesting and challenging questions that kept our team on their toes! Some of the students already knew a lot about human-bear conflict and had witnessed the mitigation efforts taking place in the nearby fields and villages, while others came up with new and creative ideas for reducing conflicts.
In a span of two days, the education team was able to reach out to over 500 students, and this mighty number does not include the several faculty members and the adults present there! But the work being done by the Bengaluru team did not end there. Vibgyor Golden Bee School was invited for a tour of the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre (BBRC) on the occasion of Hug A Bear Day on 7th November. There were 35 participants who visited the centre to see conservation in action!
If you would like to connect with Wildlife SOS to hold a similar session at your school, college or workplace, kindly email us at firstname.lastname@example.org