Celebrated as a means of raising awareness about the world’s diverse flora and fauna and their contribution to the planet and our lives, World Wildlife Day is marked on the same day as when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was adopted in 1973 – March 3rd. World Wildlife Day also serves as a stark reminder of how rampant international trade of various wildlife threatens the survival of the species.
To commemorate this day, the Wildlife SOS team at the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre in association with Champakadhama Temple Committee, Panchayat, local police force, Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) and Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) conducted a Clean-Up Drive for the benefit of the local wildlife situated in the national park. Founded in 1970 and declared a national park in 1974, the BNP covers an area of 260.5 km² and is in a unique region of ecological importance as it is situated on the northern terminal point of the Mysore Elephant Reserve. It plays an important role in the conservation of flora and fauna diversity, carbon sequestration and helps sustain regional hydrology.
While it is known well that plastics have harmful effects on marine animals, not many realise that plastics also have the same detrimental effect on terrestrial animals. Plastic is toxic to all, and is known to make wildlife more susceptible to diseases, leading to their eventual death. Plastics have been seen being consumed by bears, elephants, leopards, wild boars and other large mammals.
The Clean-Up Drive was hosted at the Champakadhama Temple and included discussions by prominent speakers, Dr. Arun A. Sha, Director – Research and Veterinary Operations, Wildlife SOS, Retd. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Mr. B. K. Singh, and former district member Jayaram. Their talks centered around the themes of why World Wildlife Day is celebrated, the importance of forests, pernicious effects of plastic waste and the need for cleanliness drives. This was followed by a briefing session by Ms. Sandhi Priya, Deputy Director, Corporate and Philanthropic Partnership – Wildlife SOS and Ms. Puja Deb, Sr. Resource Mobilisation Officer – Wildlife SOS, where information on routes and safety measures were discussed. Following this, all participants were divided into seven groups for the clean-up activity.
Over 350 participants, including volunteers, students, our CSR partners (Atlassian India, JP Morgan Chase and Co, Aquarelle India Pvt. Ltd., Sarla Birla Academy, Byju’s, Colliers Bengaluru),and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) joined our cause and took up arms against the plastic pollution prevalent along the roads surrounding the National Park. The volunteers spent the morning clearing up the plastic waste and other miscellaneous trash that they found along the way. Nearly six tractors full of trash were gathered from the roads, leaving behind cleaner surroundings.
The enthusiastic response from the groups as they came together for a common cause was both heartwarming and gratifying. Join us as a volunteer or visit our centre.