In 2006, Wildlife SOS initiated a project that would conserve bear habitat in the near Ramdurga valley in Koppal, Karnataka. We bought a tract of land spreading over 40 kilometers; a rich sloth bear habitat that had been destroyed by quarrying, wood cutting, hunting, encroachment of the forest and regular forest fires. Due to deforestation, rain became scant, rivulets and streams remained dry throughout the year, the underground water table was depleted and the tube wells ran dry. The end result was an increase in conflict between residents and the local population of bears as the animals began venturing into the village.

By restoring this habitat, Wildlife SOS provided protection to the ecosystem and biodiversity therein. In consultation with horticulture experts saplings of tree and shrub species most appropriate for the area were selected and nearly 10,000 saplings planted. We planted Mahuva, Neem, Arjuna, Mango, Amla, Indian Beech, Bamboo, Custard Apple, Indian Laburnum, Fig, Banyan, Jamun, Bohenia, Bodhi and others along the 10 acre habitat restoration area and integrated irrigation to support native wetlands. A bore well, drip irrigation system and solar powered electrical fencing were established to supply water and protect the area. In addition, members of the local community were employed for managing and patrolling activities. A lake in the habitat that had been dried completely is now a lush ecosystem In a short span of just 2-3 years the project achieved a plant survival rate of 90%.

Our habitat conservation project near the Ram durga Valley in Koppal, Karnataka aims at protecting precious sloth bear habitat. This land near village Ram Durga, Gangavati Taluk supports a rich biodiversity including endangered species like tortoises, leopards, wolf, Yellow throated bulbul and Pangolin. The habitat was critically endangered by illegal mining, encroachment and rapid deforestation. These forces, combined with ritual hunting by local communities, spelled doom for the wildlife in this area. With the aim of protecting and restoring habitats, Wildlife SOS in 2006 purchased nearly 40 acres of land near Ram Durga Village, to create a wildlife corridor and allow the vulnerable habitats that were at risk to link up with a Reserve Forest patch. By restoring this, Wildlife SOS provided protection to the ecosystem and biodiversity therein.

In April 2012, the habitat restoration project was expanded to an additional 10 acres with the generous support from BHEL, PSSR, Chennai. In consultation with horticulture experts saplings of tree and shrub species most appropriate for the area were selected and nearly 10,000 saplings planted. We planted Mahuva, Neem, Arjuna, Mango, Amla, Indian Beech, Bamboo, Custard Apple, Indian Laburnum, Fig, Banyan, Jamun, Bohenia, Bodhi and others along the 10 acre habitat restoration area and integrated irrigation to support native wetlands. A bore well, drip irrigation system and solar powered electrical fencing were established to supply water and protect the area. In addition, members of the local community were employed for managing and patrolling activities. In a short span of just 2-3 years the project achieved a plant survival rate of 90%. Saplings planted with a girth of ½ -1 inch and heights of 2-3 feet have now reached an average girth of 8-9 inches and height of 8 feet or more. In areas where restoration had started earlier it has been observed that wildlife species have started coming back and using this habitat.

Wildlife SOS works with local communities and stakeholders, educating and empowering them to patrol and protect the forests. We are working to secure agricultural land in areas bordering forests to create safe buffer areas for wildlife.

Objective: Aims at protecting wild sloth bear habitat and supports rich biodiversity including endangered species such as tortoises, leopards, yellow-throated bulbul and pangolins etc. 

Location/Region: Ramadurga, Karnataka.

Milestones: 

  • 2007 – Purchased land for restoration of a denuded ecosystem near Ramdurga, Karnataka.
  • 2012 – Expansion of land with the help of BHEL, PSSR.

Timeline:

  • 2007 – Bought 40 kms of land near Ramdurga for sloth bear habitat restoration.
  • 2007 – Employed patrol guards to keep the habitat safe from encroachment.
  • 2012 – Another 10 kms were bought in addition to the 40 kms present.
  • 2012 – In consultation with horticulturists, 10,000 saplings of local and fruit trees were planted. A bore well, drip irrigation system and solar powered electrical fencing were established to supply water and protect the area.

Project needs:

  • Expansion of land.
  • Funding for project.
  • More patrol guards.

Other collaborating groups: Karnataka Forest Department.

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