WWF-India has been involved in the conservation of Keoladeo National Park for over a decade. In order to address these key threats faced by the National Park, various projects have been undertaken in collaboration with the Forest Department towards the following objectives:
- Enhance scientific understanding of the habitat and species in KNP and assist the Forest Department to conserve and manage the Park
For this numerous collaborative efforts have been undertaken ranging from coordinating and implementing large scale Prosopis julifora removal with community participation to formation of eco-development committees and monitoring of satellite wetlands
- Influence relevant political and administrative bodies at the State and local levels to pursue water management practices that maintain the ecological integrity of KNP
As an outcome of a workshop called “Future of KNP” organized in 2007 jointly by WWF-India and the Forest Department, viable options of water supply to the Park were identified – Chiksana Canal and Govardhan Drain. The work on the Chiksana Canal was completed in May-June 2007 and approximately 80 MCft water was received by the Park from this diverted canal. Further, the construction of the Govardhan Drain found support by the Planning Commission which released 60 crore for its development.
- Motivate local children and their families to observe and promote sustainable water management practices
Two major initiatives have been undertaken by WWF-India to promote support for the Park by the communities outside of it. Firstly, it has developed the “Salim Ali Interpretation Centre and Program” that consists of education and awareness campaigns for the local people, preparation of varied resource material for wider dissemination, capacity building of the park staff, guides and tour operators by means of training. Other key elements are the Visitor’s Interpretation Centre and nature trails and signages inside the park.
Secondly, WWF-India has started the Water School Program which is an education program that allows children to explore their relationship with the environment, especially with water. Set against the background of ongoing conflict between the Keoladeo National Park and the villagers on sharing of water, the Water School Programme takes up issues including conflict resolution that are pertinent to their lives, socially as well as environmentally. Until now, over 1000 children from villages at the perimeter of the Park have participated in the program.
- Involve local/state and global media in developing a greater understanding about the importance and ecological needs of KNP
The media is a crucial tool to create awareness for a wider audience. Therefore, media campaigns and visits have been organised to build their understanding of issues in the Park and extend the outreach to people across the country.