Kanha-Pench Walk 2016: Connecting people and wildlife
About 28 enthusiastic individuals transcending all age groups from different states of Delhi, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Telengana, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh along with forest officials and WWF-India team members participated in the walk this year. The walk was flagged off by Shri Subharanjan Sen, Field Director- Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, and Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director – Species & Landscape Programme, WWF-India on 10November at Rukhad – a village in the periphery of the Pench Tiger Reserve. Over a period of eight days, the participants walked through one of the most important corridors connecting the Pench Tiger Reserve and Kanha Tiger Reserve.
A number of subject experts, forest officials, local community members and WWF-India officials guided the participants through the wildlife trails. Mr. Ravi Singh, CEO & Secretary General, WWF-India, Shri Sanjay Shukla, Field Director - Kanha Tiger Reserve, Shri Dhanraju S, IAS, District Collector of Seoni, Shri SS Mishra, Retired APCCF and Advisor, WWF India, Dr. Claude Martin, former Director General – WWF International, now associated with WWF-India in an advisory capacity, Dr. Chris Hailes – former Program Director, WWF International and Ms. Diane Walkington – former Head of International Programs, WWF-UK also trekked with the participants on separate days of the walk.
During the walk, participants travelled through villages such as Navegaon, Dundelkheda, Hirritola, Kalimati, Banjari, Massanbarra, Turur, Bharveli, Jhangul before reaching the Khatiya Eco Centre on the final day. The trails followed during the walk are often used by wildlife such as tigers, leopards, Indian bison, cheetal, sambar and sloth bears. The area is also home to breeding tigers and a variety of other wildlife species. Along the stretch the participants were excited to spot plenty of wildlife signs such as tiger pug marks, sloth bear, leopard and tiger scat besides a variety of avian species, spiders and more than 25 butterflies.
The participants also closely interacted with many communities that lived along the route. They gained insights into the agricultural practices followed by the communities, the cropping pattern, various challenges faced by them and concerned forest officials in managing human-wildlife conflict and many other such topics. Aparna Pal Chauhan, one of the participants said, “An important aspect of the forest is the presence of forest dwelling communities within the corridor. This walk helped me in understanding the integral role they play in the conservation of the forest.”
The Kanha-Pench Walk 2016 was not only punctuated by many informative and educative experiences, it has also been successful in garnering support and participation for conservation drawing individuals from various walks of life.
For further information:
Head – Satpuda Maikal Landscape
Species & Landscape | WWF-India
Sr. Communication Officer
Species & Landscape| WWF-India