SBI Foundation and WWF India join hands for Red Panda transboundary conservation in Sikkim and Darjeeling, Kalimpong District of West Bengal
WWF India and SBI Foundation to work with community members of the two states to build a voluntary group, the Red Panda Guardians
Gangtok, 17th Sep, 2022 International Red Panda Day is celebrated every year to support Red Panda conservation. It is a day to celebrate our mountains' elusive Firefox and generate much-needed awareness about the species. Taking a step forward in the conservation efforts, WWF India and SBI Foundation entered into a partnership to generate fine-scale information on the species at a transboundary level and engage with communities in safeguarding key habitats in Sikkim and Darjeeling, Kalimpong district in West Bengal.
On the occasion of International Red Panda Day, The Hon’ble State Minister of Forest, Environment and Wildlife, Sikkim, Karma Loday Bhutia, attended the event organised at the Himalayan Zoological Park in Gangtok. The Zoological Park is the first of its kind, where animals are kept in their natural habitat. The event was hosted to raise awareness about the endangered Red Panda among young visitors.
Shri Dr. Sandeep Tambe, APCCF / CWLW, Sikkim and other senior officers of the Sikkim Government, along with SBI Foundation President & COO, Mr Lalit Mohan and representatives from SBI Foundation and WWF India, were also present at the event. The programme for the day included visiting the zoo enclosures, presentations and talks on red panda conservation, and an inter-school quiz competition.
Speaking at the event, Shri. Karma Loday Bhutia, Hon’ble State Minister of Forest, Environment & Wildlife, Sikkim, shared, “Red pandas are a special animal for the state, and the WWF India and SBI Foundation partnership would contribute meaningfully towards the conservation effort of the State Government. He also requested WWF for their technical contribution towards a species recovery program for the future.”
Mr. Lalit Mohan, President & COO, SBI Foundation, said, “Endeavour to conserve the Red Panda are in extension of the efforts to secure and protect the ecosystem, of which, they are a part of. This project is a true manifestation of the SBI Foundation’s commitment to mitigate the dangers of climate change and to work towards creating sustainable pathways for development. The partnership between SBIF and WWF India strengthens our nation’s resolve for conservation of our ecological diversity and heritage.”
At the same time, International Red Panda Day was celebrated with the support of the State Education Departments of Sikkim and the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration. They joined hands with WWF India to raise awareness about red panda among school children. Around 300 to 400 schools were part of the awareness programme, celebrating Red Panda Day. The schools shared the information (presentation, films, and posters) with children through the WWF India website to mark the Red Panda Day.
WWF India team conducted a short program at Kagyu Thekchenling Monastry, Lava, West Bengal for the student monks, students of Lava High School and Red Panda Guardians. The students were engaged through presentations, movie on Red Panda and also an interactive quiz on the biodiversity of NVNP. Red Panda Guardians are volunteers from the community who will support in the conservation efforts for red panda and help raise awareness among the community members.
WWF India's initiatives for red panda conservation in the Eastern Himalayas began with intensive field research in 2005 to identify potential red panda habitats. The organisation has been involved in species conservation and building community stewardship in the Himalayas in Sikkim and Darjeeling. The red panda is a priority species for WWF India, and the organization has been striving for ecological understanding of the species and community-based initiatives for their conservation. The third Saturday of September is observed as International Red Panda Day every year. This year it falls on 17th September 2022.
Yash Shethia, Director, Wildlife Landscapes-Wildlife & Habitat Programme, WWF India said, “I want to thank the Forest and Environment Department Government of Sikkim and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration for their efforts in red panda conservation. We are also grateful to SBI Foundation for strengthening this initiative in partnership with WWF India. We look forward to getting tangible results through this project at the end of three years.”
SBI Foundation is the CSR arm of the State Bank of India. True to its tradition of “Service Beyond
Banking,” the foundation currently works in 28 States and Union Territories of India on sustainability and environment, rural development, healthcare, education, livelihood and skill development, youth empowerment, promotion of sports, and more. SBI Foundation believes in reflecting the ethos of the SBI group in running interventions that are ethical, promote growth and
equality, and create a positive impact on society.
For further details, please contact:
Senior Manager, Media and PR