Frontline forest staff plays a significant role in the conservation of wildlife and their habitats. To celebrate and acknowledge their contribution, WWF-India in collaboration with the Wildlife wing of West Bengal Forest Directorate organised a program, “Celebrating Guardians of the Mangal”, on 19th January, 2018 at Mangrove Interpretation Centre, Sundarbans Tiger Reserve.

Sri Binay Krishna Barman, Honourable Minister-in-Charge-Forest Government of West Bengal, Mr. Ravi Kant Sainha, IFS: Principal Chief Conservator of Forest- Wildlife and Chief Wildlife Warden, Mr. Nilanjan Mallick, IFS: Field Director of Sundarban Tiger Reserve were present along with other officials of Sundarban Tiger Reserve to celebrate this day.

Letters from different corners of the world received as part of the “Back a Ranger” campaign of WWF were presented to the frontline staff. Frontline forest guards who spend a significant amount of time patrolling and camping in the forests were also presented with medicated mosquito nets and winter jackets  by Honourable Minister-in-Charge-Forest Government of West Bengal, PCCF-Wildlife and Chief Wildlife Warden and Field Director, Sundarban Tiger Reserve as a token of appreciation for their efforts.

© WWF-India

The Field Director of the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve acknowledged the challenges of working in Sundarbans which is subjected to tides twice a day. He mentioned that even in challenging situations, frontline staff show extreme dedication and without their effort, the rich biodiversity of forest would have been threatened. He also highlighted the successful collaboration with WWF-India and West Bengal Forest Directorate through which various initiatives of tiger conservation in the region have been implemented. He also added that work done by the frontline staff need to be highlighted through such events as this would boost the staffs’ morale. 

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ratul Saha, Sundarban Landscape Co-ordinator,  gave a brief introduction on WWF’s work and the involvement with the West Bengal Forest Directorate since its inception. He highlighted the significant role played by frontline staff members in the big wins of WWF-India and the SBR Directorate.  Three reports on the estimation of tiger population conducted from 2012 to 2016 and State of Art Report on Biodiversity of Indian Sundarbans, entailing critical analysis of the biodiversity groups present in Sundarbans mangrove ecosystem were released on this day.

WWF-India’s Sundarbans Programme has been supporting the West Bengal Forest Directorate by developing improved tools and methods for tiger monitoring and estimation, in dealing with human-wildlife conflict ( by installation of solar street lights and designing Advanced Trap and Transfer Actions Cage –ATTAC) and in Protected Area management. WWF-India is implementing measures to reduce instances of human-tiger conflict and is working with Forest Directorate to prioritize investments for conservation interventions.  

© WWF-India
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