Events organized in four tiger landscapes across IndiaNew Delhi: On the occasion of Global Tiger Day, WWF-India organized awareness events in four tiger landscapes across India to honour and recognize forest guards for their contribution towards tiger conservation. These events were organized under WWF’s global campaign, Cards 4 Tigers, which aims to raise awareness about the life of forest guards and encourage appreciation amongst the general public towards their work. More than 500 school and college students participated in awareness rallies, drawing and painting competitions, skits, debates and discussions on the topic of tiger conservation and the role of forest guards.
Forest guards are the foot soldiers of tiger conservation who work tirelessly in extreme conditions to ensure the safety of India’s wildlife, especially tigers. However, little is known about their lives, the hardships they face, and the work they do. Through the Cards 4 Tigers campaign, WWF-India profiled the lives of forest guards from different tiger landscapes, and encouraged individuals from various countries around the world to send post cards with messages of appreciation for them. The campaign was kicked off during the CBD CoP 11 meetings in October 2012 where the Hon’ble Minister of Environment and Forests, Government of India and Bollywood actor Rana Daggubatti pledged their support for the forest guards. Soon after, their stories reached every corner of the country, and the world, and touched the hearts of thousands of individuals, who sent post cards with personal messages in recognition of their efforts, courage and bravery.
A group of 50 students from a school in Melbourne, Australia especially designed postcards for the guards of the Pakke Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh. Another group from London sent postcards to the forest guards of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve after their visit to the park. Employees from the headquarters of Warner Bros Entertainment in Burbank, California sent cards for the guards in appreciation of their determination to protect wildlife.
Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director, Species and Landscape Programme, WWF-India, said “We thank each and everyone who showed support for these silent heroes. WWF-India works closely with the state Forest Department to achieve its conservation objectives in different landscapes. Our field teams interact with the frontline staff regularly for joint field surveys, capacity building and training programmes, and are aware of the hardships they face inside the forests. We envisage that this support will motivate the Forest Guards to continue working for the cause of conservation with greater enthusiasm. WWF-India is committed to support their conservation work in future.”
Today, events were being organized with the guards from Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (Uttar Pradesh), Kanha Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh), Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (Tamil Nadu) and Pakke Tiger Reserve (Arunachal Pradesh). Students from various schools handed over the post cards received for these guards, along with a memento and binoculars from WWF-India, in the presence of senior officials of the State Forest Departments.
As the Strike Force from Pakke accepted these postcards, a senior member of the team said, “We are overwhelmed by this surge of support for us and our fellow forest guards working in the North East. We spend days patrolling these forest, away from our families and disconnected from the outside world. It is heartening to realize that people are aware of what we do, and appreciate our efforts. We are especially touched to receive these postcards from young students, and hope they are inspired to contribute to the cause of tiger conservation.”
World over, this campaign was launched in seven countries, India, Nepal, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
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