The Maharashtra Forest Department is the legal custodian and the primary stakeholder of all forested landscapes in the state including all Tiger Reserves, National Parks, Sanctuaries, Reserve forests, Protected Forests, and unclassified forests. The Department is classified into four wings; territorial, wildlife, social forestry and FDCM. The Wildlife wing, among these is primarily responsible for conservation and management of all Protected Areas and Wildlife in the State. It is headed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden and is supported by Additional PCCF (Wildlife East and Wildlife West). Under the jurisdiction of APCCF WL East, there are Five TRs, each headed by a Field Director and Chief Conservator of Forests/Conservator of Forests, and the project landscape is also within co-terminus with the jurisdiction of APCCF WL East. Apart from this, there are frontline staff involved in tiger protection and conservation in the aforesaid areas. Four dedicated teams of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) each with a strength of 112 individuals also has been constituted to enhance protection of these PAs and the wildlife therein. The Maharashtra Forest Department has the following mandates for nature and wildlife conservation. 1) round the clock protection measures; 2) Habitat improvement which includes removal of invasive species, grassland development and soil and moisture conservation works and site specific plantations; 3) Employing participatory conservation models through formation of JFMCs and EDCs for local benefit to local populations; 4) Creating awareness among general masses for garnering greater support to all conservation initiatives; 5) Convergence activities with various governmental departments for conservation measures; 6) Enforcing various provisions of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 as well as various governmental policies, guidelines and directions by the state and Honourable courts from time to time..
The total forest area in the Vidharba landscape including five Tiger Reserves constitutes about 54.11% (c. 33198Km2) of the total forested area of the state and 10.79% of states geographical area, and is home to almost all species of wildlife recorded in the state, including the Tiger. The MFD over the last 5-6 years has declared three new Tiger Reserves, eight new Wildlife Sanctuaries, and four Conservation Reserves, thus increasing the overall protected areas network in the state. Owing to strengthening of protection measures and integrated conservation initiatives over the last four years, the tiger also has increased from 169 in 2010 to 190 in 2014 as per Phase IV estimates of the All India Tiger Estimation Exercise as per the NTCA guidelines. Four new STPFs have also been established, which is the highest number of STPFs deployed in the entire country.
Progressive policies and guidelines on community participation in natural resource conservation have been initiated resulting in creation of a pro-conservation social fence in the form of JFMCs and EDCs in the entire state, in order to ensure a sustained reduction in forest dependency of local communities and for generating Alternative Livelihoods through eco-tourism, NTFP sustainable management and skill and capacity development of local youth. The Department also has implemented a smooth flowing ex-gratia and damage (due to wildlife) relief schemes, which deliver substantial financial support (one of the best provisions in the entire country) in a time-bound and transparent manner.
In the current project the Department will lead the way in partnership with various listed NGO partners and other grassroots organisations along existing mandates to enhance protection, recovery of habitats and collaborative eco-development, in areas that require more concentrated efforts. In particular the Department will focus on utilising the funds on developing Buffer and Territorial forest areas that constitute vital corridor links between source tiger populations in the Tiger Reserves.
Wildlife Trust of INDIA (WTI)
Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is a non-profit organisation constituted in 1998 and registered as a Trust, with a workforce of over 180 personnel.
VISION: A secure natural heritage of India.
MISSION: To conserve wildlife and its habitat and to work for the welfare of individual wild animals, in partnership with communities and governments.
PAST PROJECTS UNDERTAKEN IN THE LAST 5 YEARS
Wildlife Trust of India works in nine thematic priority areas such as Wild Aid, Wildlife Crime Control, Green Livelihoods, Species Recovery, Protected Area Recovery, Wild Rescue, Conflict Mitigation, Natural Heritage Campaigns and Wild Lands.
PAST AND ONGOING PROJECTS UDNERTAKEN IN THE VIDHARBA LANDSCAPE
WTI’s focal area within the Vidarbha landscape, in Maharashtra has been the Nagzira-Nawegaon-Tadoba Tiger Corridor, WTI, in 2008, undertook a survey of 89 villages (90,000 humans and 55,000 livestock) in the Nagzira-Nawegaon corridor, assessing their dependence on the corridor forests for livestock grazing, firewood and non-timber forest produces (NTFP). WTI initiated a long-term and multi-pronged project with a focus on eco-developmental activities and the participation of local communities in the larger conservation efforts in the corridor region.
WTI also developed the State’s first People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) in Murdoli gram Panchayat, of Gondia District, endorsed by the State Biodiversity Board. Additionally, WTI also worked in the past to enhance the capacity of frontline forest staff in the corridor region to prevent and reduce wildlife crimes in the area, especially, tiger poaching and trade. In 2012, WTI reported the presence of high tiger population in Brahmapuri region corridor to primarily develop this as ‘tiger friendly’ corridor.
Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT)
The Wildlife Conservation Trust is a registered trust established in the year 2002. Wildlife Conservation Trust currently works in over 130 national parks and sanctuaries of India across 23 states, covering 82% of 50 tiger reserves and 18% of 733 nature reserves. With over 3.5 million people living inside tiger reserves and several hundred million dependent on natural ecosystems, we cannot separate communities from conservation. WCT lays equal emphasis on wildlife conservation and community development.
We help strengthen the protection infrastructure in protected areas. Our team has imparted enforcement training to over 8,700 staff and continues to conduct sessions in forest institutes. Above all we conduct scientific research to push for more robust wildlife management policies. We also impart vocational training to young people and co-ordinate with over 100 job providers to find them gainful employment, thereby reducing their dependency and negative impact on forests.We understand the value of education to a child’s future and work extensively with government schools in forests by building the capacity of teachers, providing infrastructural support and creating alternative avenues for learning. Realising that these remotely-located communities lack access to quality healthcare, we conduct health camps, providing relief to both villagers and forest department staff.
As part of our two Save Our Tigers campaign in association with NDTV, we provided multi-utility rescue vehicles to 31 parks to tackle man-animal conflict and also equipped 2,100 Anti-poaching Camps in over 60 parks across the country. WCT has also partnered with the NTCA and WII in the 3rd All India Tiger Estimation exercise.
Tiger Research and Conservation Trust (TRACT)
Tiger Research and Conservation Trust (TRACT) was founded in 2001 as a not for profit trust, registered with the Charity Commissioner. The Trust is dedicated to the conservation of wild tigers, their prey and their habitat both inside and beyond boundaries of the Central India landscape. We believe in working at the grass root level with local communities and with the managers and policy makers of the protected and unprotected forests of Central India. Our work focuses on facilitating protection through patrols and training, integrating local stakeholders in the process of wildlife conservation, mitigation of human – large carnivore conflict and changing how local communities living in tiger habitats view this species, creating a social fence, which is key for its persistence in the future.
At present there are following ongoing projects with 13 employees working on them.
1. COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP FOR CONFLICT MITIGATION Education and Awareness in Local Communities for Mitigation of Human – Tiger/Leopard Conflict supported by US Fish and Wildlife Services.
2. TIGER AMBASSADORS - SATPUDA LANDSCAPE TIGER PARTNERSHIP Addressing Human - Wildlife Conflict through people's participation supported by Born Free Foundation and Saving wild tigers.
3. CORRIDOR CONSERVATION PROGRAM – Supported by and in partnership with Maharashtra State Forest Department since 2008.
4. JUNGLE PATROLS – Supported by Wildlife Conservation Trust in training of local youth for protection of wildlife and habitat.
5. CONSOLIDATION OF HABITAT – Supported by Wildlife Conservation Society.
6. SCHLORSHIP FOR STUDENTS IN BUFFER VILLAGES – Supported by Serenity Trust.
7. ADDRESSING HUMAN – TIGER / LEOPARD CONFLICT – Supported by Maharashtra State Forest Department.
8. TRAINING WORKSHOPS FOR FOREST PRESONNEL IN RANGERS COLLEGES – Supported by Maharashtra State Forest Department.
Bombay Natural History Society- (BNHS)
Bombay Natural History Society- BNHS, a pan-India wildlife research organization, has been promoting the cause of nature conservation for the past 133 years, since 1883. BNHS was started by eight amateur naturalists of Mumbai, of which two were Indians. During its journey from an amateurs’ organization to a professional organization, the guiding principle of BNHS has been that conservation should be based on scientific research - a tradition exemplified by its former president, Dr Sálim Ali - world renowned ornithologist and receiver of Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards by Government of India. At present about 200 employees are working in various areas in the Country.
BNHS is a premier independent scientific organization with a broad based constituency, excelling in the conservation of threatened species and habitats. BNHS Mission is conservation of Nature, primarily Biological Diversity through action based on Research, Education and Public Awareness.
BNHS Vision:Premier independent scientific organization with a broad based constituency, excelling in the conservation of threatened species and habitats.
BNHS Mission- Conservation of Nature, primarily Biological Diversity through action based on Research, Education and Public Awareness.
Past Achievements of BNHS
1. Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre Programme
With BNHS intervention, the drug diclofenac used to treat livestock and cattle was banned in 2006 but much more is needed to restore their numbers. With this in mind, BNHS has set up four conservation breeding facilities in the country
Bengal Florican Project
The BNHS Bengal Florican programme extends over Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the Northeast.
Mangrove Restoration and Conservation Education
Mangrove conservation education unit phase-II project started in 2010. Under this project educational programs on mangroves were carried out in different areas of Mumbai and Thane.
Important Bird Areas Programme
BNHS is the Bird Life Partner for India and is responsible for coordinating the IBA programme in the country.
Ongoing Projects of BNHS in Vidarbah Landscape.
Satpuda Landscape Tiger Programme-SLTP of BNHS is to address tiger conservation issues in the Satpuda Landscape of Central India. It has created environment awareness among more than one lakh students since 2005. It has repaired more than 1,000 defunct biogas plants around tiger reserves with funds from the forest department and has helped reduce dependency of women on fire wood collection.
Wildlife Research and Conservation Society (WRCS)
Date of Establishment and Vision
Wildlife Research and Conservation Society (WRCS) was established in 2005 for conserving wildlife and biodiversity based on scientific principles and scientific information. It is constituted as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Our vision is to achieve long term sustainability of nature for future generations.
Projects and Geographical areas of work
WRCS is currently working in the following areas:
· Tiger conservation in Melghat
· Ecological Study of Forest Owlet in Khandwa District, Madhya Pradesh and Melghat
· Human elephant conflict in North Kanara and Andhra Pradesh
· Conservation of private forests in Western Ghats of Maharashtra
· Conservation of corridors for large carnivores in Western Ghats of Maharashtra
We work closely with the Forest Department at most of our project sites. We believe that wildlife conservation and long term sustainability depends on involvement of the local community. We believe that conservation has to be linked closely to people's livelihoods and people should be benefited from conservation so that they become partners in conservation. At many project sites we work closely with the community on issues of of sustainability and livelihood. At our project sites in North Kanara, Koyna, Melghat and Madhya Pradesh we are helping the local community to develop livelihoods based on themes linked to native wildlife and biodiversity.
Trustees and personnel
Our governing body includes dedicated conservationists, scientists and social activists. Our full-time team has the following constitution:
· Executive Directors: 2
· Research Associates: 2
· Project Staff: 6
· Office staff: 2
Partners and Supporters
We have been supported in our work by many of partner organizations and funding agencies including the Forest Departments of various states, WWF-India, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Raptor Research and Conservation Foundation, Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Maharashtra Foundation, Ruffords Foundation, Maharashtra Foundation, KPIT, Tata Motors and UPS Foundation to name a few.
KHOJ is a voluntary organization working in Melghat region of Amravati district since 1996. The key areas of our focus have been ensuring rights of the tribal and forest dependent communities to ensure their livelihoods, conservation of forest and their natural resources, addressing access and quality of health and education.
We work in over 60 villages in Melghat and adjoining blocks in all forest areas, Core, Buffer and Territorial Divisions, predominantly on convergence of various programmes to help village communities achieve the objective of improved governance through conservation and livelihoods.
Communities we work with have successfully evolved their efforts into learning spaces and today lead the work on Community Driven Conservation through convergence of laws like FRA, PESA, BDA and MGNREGA.
Have worked successfully in mobilizing communities in conserving their forest areas, in sustainable harvest of forest produce and in improving the quality of forests through both Natural Regeneration and Plantations. Today these communities are working towards regenerating their wildlife habitats that are seeing return of the wildlife while preventing migration and improving their income levels.
We believe in co-existence of people forest and wildlife and work on laws that empower communities to conserve and protect their forests and watershed while helping them access and diversify their livelihood alternatives.
KHOJ has led the process of preparation of Forest Conservation and Management Plans in 50 villages across 5 districts of Vidarbha through support of UNDP that led to preparation of Conservation and Management plans that are now part of working plans.
KHOJ has its field office with a team of over 20 people, predominantly local people and is situated at Gaurkheda Kumbhi, at the foothills of Melghat.
VNCS is a registered charitable organization formally founded in 1986 by a group of conservationists & social workers, which believe in community management of resources for ecological security as well as sustainable livelihoods.
Vision and Mission: Promotion of Ecological Balance through Nature Conservation for equal and peaceful life to all.
Goal: To build ecologically sensitive and responsible society.
Major Projects handled by the VNCS
1) Sustainable management of forest in 50 villages of Gadchiroli, Gondia and Nagpur District supported by Oxfam-India.
2) Community mobilization and advocacy for CFR claims of Gadchiroli, Gondia and Nagpur District supported by Swiss-aid-India.
3) Developing strong governance in 24 villages of Gadchiroli, Gondia and Nagpur District supported by UNDP.
4) Tank de-silting for better water management supported by State Forest Department.
5) Improved water sources PHAD Sinchan supported by SDTT through Dilasa Sanstha.
6) Developing governance in 50 CFR villages through convergence of state schemes for implementation of management plan on conservation of forests and livelihoods.
Area of operations is Vidarbha region of Maharashtra State.
There are 13 experts working in the organization at present.
SAVE ECOSYSTEM AND TIGER (SEAT)
Few environmental enthusiasts, nature lovers working on various aspects of conservation of natural resources came together to launch a wildlife conservation group named ‘Save Ecosystem and Tiger’(SEAT) in the year 2013. The major objective is to conserve ‘Tiger’ which is known to be the key element of our ecology. The organization was registered under the provision of Society Registration Act and Bombay Public Trust Act.
Conducting participation research activities through involvement of different members of society and improvement of localities to strengthen ecological balance.
Prosperity of wildlife to protect environment through conservation of specific ecosystem.
The organization was involved in anti-poaching activities and man-animal conflicts. Our goal is to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to the villagers and reduce their dependency on forest.
SEAT organization registered working area is the State of Maharashtra.
SEAT is working for development of fragmented corridor between ‘Nawegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve’ (NNTR) to ‘Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary’ (UKWS).
SEAT had submitted two study reports to the Forest Department of Maharashtra in the year 2014-15.
Eco-Pro is a nonprofit organization founded in the year 2006. The mission of the organization is to conserve and protect forest and wildlife. The organization is actively participating to preserve and conserve wildlife habitat of Tadoba-Andhari Land scape and even in adjoining territorial forests of Chandrapur District. The organization is helping State Forest Department especially in man-animal conflict incidences, including rescue operation apart from liaisoning with locals in rehabilitation and awareness programmes. The organization is working in tandem with officials of Forest Department in protection, patrolling, training and integrating local communities to create social fencing for thieving wildlife in perpetuity.
Our organization has above 300 dedicated volunteers / members devoted for the cause of wildlife conservation.
The Satpuda Foundation has been working in the Vidharbha landscape through extensive activities at the grassroots level. Much of these deal with soil, moisture and water conservation activities, enhancing wildlife protection by assisting Forest Department in anti-poaching activities and fire fighting activities. Under Village development initiatives the NGO carries out activities towards village development though integrated micro-plans (where available, help in implementing, where not available, help in designing plans). Act as a bridge between villagers and official agencies entrusted with development. The organisation has also been working towards raising awareness on environmental issues and the need for conservation throughclassroom activities, nature camps and trails, involving school children in conservation activities and using such activities to spread awareness among the wider village populations. Satpuda foundation also focusses on developing green livelihoods in villages and also runs mobile health camps 365 days annually.