Day 8: November 17, 2016

Entering its last day, the participants successfully completed the Kanha-Pench Walk 2016 by reaching Khatiya village on the buffer of the Kanha Tiger Reserve.
The last day of the walk was flagged off by Mr. Ravi Singh, CEO & Secretary General, WWF-India from Jhangul, a village. The team was also joined by Mr. SS Mishra, Retired APCCF and Advisor, WWF India and Mr. Sanjay Shukla, Field Director, Kanha Tiger Reserve. The team today covered a distance of 8km reaching Khatiya Eco Center by late afternoon. 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ravi Singh thanked the participants for their support and enthusiasm that they have shown during the walk. Today, the team was also joined by Dr. Claud Martin, former Director General – WWF International, now associated with WWF-India in an advisory capacity, Dr. Chris Hailes – former Program Director, WWF International and Diane Walkington – former Head of International Programs, WWF-UK. 
During the trek, the participants were excited to see a week old pugmark of a male tiger. The walk ended by a brief presentation given by Mr. Shukla in the Eco-Centre, Kanha on the various conservation measures undertaken in the Kanha Tiger Reserve. This was followed by a discussion between the officials and participants on the way forward for conservation particularly in securing the Kanha-Pench corridor.
© WWF-India

Day 8: Photo Gallery

© WWF-India

Day 7: November 16, 2016

The Kanha-Pench Walk is in its last leg now. On the 7th day, Mr. Sanjay  Shukla, Field Director of Kanha Tiger Reserve joined the participants  for the walk from Bharveli to Jhangul covering a distance of  approximately 11 km. 

The participants were divided into two groups,  one led by Mr. Shukla, while the other group was led by Mr Ratul Saha,  Head, WWF-India's Sunderbans Landscape. Mr Shukla gave very interesting  insights on the landscape and its wildlife. 

Towards the end of the walk, the participants were taken to the Gidli Gobra Falls in the Surpati village (Mandla District)  before heading to Jhangul. 

The walk will finally come to an end  tomorrow at Khatiya located at Kanha Tiger Reserve. 

Day 7: Photo Gallery

Day 6: November 15, 2016
Turur to Bharveli

The walk  entered its sixth day today. The participants  crossed various  villages from Turur to Bharveli along the 11 km trek. The participants  interacted with community members of villages and were informed of plant species found in the forests, for e,g. the Jatropha plant which is used to generate bio-diesel as well as for fencing agriculture fields.
The previous night in Turur, participants were familiarised with the  smokeless chulha project which has reduced the community's dependence on fuel-wood from adjoining forests. 

In the past six days, participants have been supporting the organizing  team by volunteering to cook for the group. Another participant, Mr  Rajesh Paridwal, an artist from Ranthambore School of Arts captured the  beautiful landscape through his sketches. Participants like them, have  made the entire walk interesting further enriching the experience.
© WWF-India
© WWF-India

Day 5: November 14, 2016
Massanbarra to Turur

Massanbarra village hosted the participants of the Kanha-Pench Walk on the night of November 13. The participants performed a skit which was used as a tool to address the issues of human tiger conflict. The evening was well spent on interactions with the local villagers.

The morning of November 14 was another early start for the participants of the Kanha-Pench Walk; everyone was out bird-watching. The participants could spot 20 species of birds in and around Massanbarra village. WWF India staff Indrabhan Singh Bundela and a few other community members introduced the participants to various plants and trees along the way.

The participants began their walk after a brief interaction with the SDO and Range Officer of that area. The day’s walk was led by Shri Radhe Lal from Massanbarra village. Crossing over the Waingaga River - from Massanbarra to Emlitola was the highlight of the day. The participants thoroughly enjoyed the walk along the river. Once on the other side, the participants were picked up from Emlitola and driven to Turur.

Day 5: Photo Gallery

Day 4: November 13, 2016
Banjari to Massanbarr

On the early morning of November 13, Shri Dhanraju S, IAS, District Collector of Seoni, joined the participants of the Kanha-Pench Walk at Banjari. The walk was flagged off by Shri Jai Ram, a member of the local community. Shri Dhanraju participated in the day’s walk and interacted with participants of the Kanha-Pench Walk. Throughout the day, the team discussed various topics concerning conservation; for example- the role communities play in conservation, spreading the message of conservation amongst various interest groups, and formulation of conservation policies. Shri Dhanraju spoke about the urgent need for course correction in matters related to the environment and the need to comprehend our approach towards them.

Enthusiastic and forthcoming, Shri Dhanraju frequently engaged with the participants during the walk. Apart from answering many questions, he was particularly eager to listen and learn from others. Shri Dhanraju was curious about the signs of wild animals that were spotted along the way. He was particularly pleased with the location of a lively stream that they had stopped by for lunch.

Upon reaching Massanbarra, the host village for the night, the participants eagerly waited to interact with the local villagers. The evening was well spent on interactions with local villagers. Games were conducted in order to break the ice and make conversations easier and more relevant.
© WWF-India
© WWF-India

Day 3: November 12, 2016

Kalimati to Banjhari Kalimati, a pilot village where WWF-India has been working for community based conservation since the past few years, hosted the participants of the Kanha-Pench Walk on the night of November 11. The evening was well spent on interactions with local villagers. Followed by that was a screening of the recent movie, “The Jungle Book.”
On the third day of the Kanha-Pench Walk, November 12, the participants woke up to a beautiful morning and went for bird-watching in the forest adjoining Kalimati village. The break of dawn being a period of increased avian activity, the participants were able to spot birds such as the rufous-treepie, white-throated kingfisher, grey hornbill and the small green bee-eater amongst other species.
The day’s walk was flagged off by Mr. Bhajan Lal Pal, Range Officer of the Keolari range in the South Seoni forest division. While still in Kalimati, the participants witnessed a demonstration of the solarfencing installed by WWF-India. This solar-fencing was installed along the agriculture fields to protect crops from wild herbivores.

Followed by this was a long walk to Banjari Village. The participants walked through thickly forested hills which were intermittently laced with small streams. Navigating through prime habitats of sloth bears was a challenge for the team since the path was steep with rocky slopes. 

Along that stretch, the participants were fortunate to spot several signs of wild animals. An exciting one was pug marks of a tigress with a cub. Amongst others, they were able to spot leopard scat as well as sambar and nilgai pellets. One of the groups came across the common wolf snake which quickly slithered away upon being spotted.

Excited and content, the participants made their way to Banjari, their halt for the night and a place named after Goddess “Banjari Devi.” On reaching Banjari, the participants were welcomed by folkmusicians who played songs on environment awareness; they are known to have performed at events across the state of Madhya Pradesh. The Participants of the Kanha-Pench walk thoroughly enjoyed the music and company. 

Day 3: Photo Gallery

© WWF-India

Day 2: November 11, 2016 Dundalkheda to Hirritola

It was day two of the Pench Walk 2016, the team resumed their journey from Dundalkheda and travelled towards Hirritola. The highlight of the day was an early morning visit to the Mowgli caves in Amodgarh and a walk besides the scenic River Hirri after passing through the dense forests of the Kaniwada Range in the South Seoni forest division. “It might be a tale conjured up by someone from outside about this area but when I stand on the bank of the Hirri River and look up to the steep cliffs and see caves, I believe that the story might have been true after all” said Rajesh, one of the forest guards.

Throughout the walk, the participants frequently spotted signs of wild animals such as pug marks of tiger, sloth bear and leopard and tiger scat besides a variety of avian species, spiders and butterflies. The participants also learnt about the medicinal properties of commonly found plants in the area. The day’s trek ended at Hirri Tola where the participants were warmly greeted by the villagers.

At the end of two days, the participants not only learnt about the rich biodiversity of the region but also got the opportunity to interact with the local communities in that region. 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 local communities along with the forest officials shared the agricultural practices and cropping patterns followed in those regions. The participants were also introduced to the culture of the communities living along the corridor through their interactions in the evening.

Day 2: Photo Gallery

Day 1: 10th November 2016

4th edition of the Kanha-Pench Walk flagged off
The much awaited Kanha- Pench Walk 2016, a joint collaboration of WWF-India and the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, was flagged off today by Mr. Subharanjan Sen, Field Director, Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh and Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director - Species & Landscapes Programme, WWF-India, at Rukhad – a periphery village of the Pench Tiger Reserve.

A group of 28 enthused youngsters from different corners of India includingDelhi, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, set out on the walkalong with forest officials and members of the WWF-India team. . On the first day, the team trekked from Rukhad to Navegaon covering a distance of 10km.  Navegaon is also the source point for the  river Weinganga, a lifeline for wildlife around this belt.
Along the way, experts and WWF team guided the participants through the wildlife trails.

The walk, in its 4th edition now,aims to build awareness on the importance of conserving the Kanha-Pench corridor which connects two major tiger source populations in Central India. This corridor forms one of the most crucial tiger conservation units of the world.
The walk, aiming to cover a total distance of 10 km over 7 days will help participants gain insights on the importance of this corridor, the harmonious co-existence of communities alongside the wild and the co-dependence of forests and communities  living in settlements in and around the area.
The participants, starting off at 8:30 am reached Navegaon at around 2:30 pm and were welcomed by the local communities in the area.  TheGonds and Baigas are the predominant tribal communities living along this corridor. These community members have been living in these forest since time immemorial and is a great example of how communities co-exist with nature. 

The team was thereafter brought to Dundalkheda to spend the night.
The next day,participants will begin early from Dundalkheda and trek for about 11 km towards Hirritola.

Day 1: Photo Gallery

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