The tag line, ‘Just 1411 left, Save Our Tigers’, hit a chord in the hearts and minds of millions of Indians and evolved into a brand unto itself. People began to rally for the cause and started lending their voices towards it.
Our seriousness towards doing our bit to Save Our Tigers has led us to partner with several well-known organizations like World Wildlife Fund-India, Wildlife Conservation Trust, Wildlife Trust of India, Sanctuary Asia and NDTV, as well as several noted conservationists to create an impact on ground where it really matters. We work on several projects that encompass capacity building, conflict mitigation and awareness creation. This helps us address issues in 360 degrees and reach out to create maximum impact.
Projects with WWF- India:
Aircel began active on ground support work in 2008 with WWF - India. Post a project - donor match, we conceptualized and put to practice two projects, detailed below:
Support Initiative Fund
In this project, we worked across all the tiger reserves in the country, extending infrastructure and capacity support on per need basis.
Infrastructure buildup by way of providing vehicles for anti-poaching measures has created a huge impact in many of the reserves, which lacked means to effectively carry forth anti-poaching patrols. We have equipped Forest Guards with necessary gear and protective wear to enable unhindered work from their end. Compensation to them in cases of injury or loss of life has also highly motivated effective duty. Cattle compensation is also an important part of the project, negating human – animal conflict.
Conservation of Tigers in Assam:
The state of Assam has one of the highest densities of Tiger populations in the country, but also has very high human – animal conflict. We concentrated on capacity building here, carrying out extensive work on training of forest guards in anti-poaching measures, infrastructure buildup within the tiger reserves and in securing corridors.
A considerable impact is noticed here. We provided patrolling vehicles and boats, built watch towers, anti-poaching camps and maintained roads inside the reserves. All this has facilitated impactful anti-poaching measures. Post training to foresters on the correct way of wildlife crime reporting, conviction rates have increased manifold. The number of retaliatory killings has declined due to timely compensation to villagers for the loss of their cattle.
Conflict mitigation in Sunderbans:
The Sunderbans are known for one of the healthiest Tiger populations, but in the recent years have had an increase in incidents of Human- Animal conflicts due to Habitat destruction along with increase in population. In an attempt to negate this, Aircel along with WWF-India worked in a conflict mitigation project in the Sunderbans.
Tigers, don’t like to traverse on well-lit paths like humans. We lit nine villages in the Sunderbans by providing Solar Lamps to prevent human - animal conflict. We have also put into use a unique trapping cage; where in case a Tiger strays into human habitation, it can be trapped into the cage. This cage is technologically advanced, can weigh the Tiger and is much lighter than the earlier ones used. Once the Tiger is trapped a SMS goes out to 5 Forest Officials which helps in a faster and accurate rescue. This goes that extra mile in preventing conflict whereby in many cases, besides humans, the animal is also injured or killed.
Projects with Wildlife Trust of India:
Conflict mitigation in the Dudhwa Landscape:
Launched in May 2013 in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India and the Uttar Pradesh Government, this project aims to mitigate human - carnivore conflicts in the Dudhwa Tiger landscape. The Dudhwa landscape houses a good tiger population but is also one that is plagued with increased conflict between man & tigers, besides with other large carnivores. Habitat loss, fragmentation and increased population are the main causes of conflict in this landscape. We have developed Primary Response Teams and deployed a Rapid Response Team to work along with the communities to negate conflict in this area. The Rapid Response Team, consists of a fully equipped van led a by a vet which would assist in cases of conflict and act wherever rescue initiatives are required. The Primary Response Teams are the first teams that act in cases of conflicts and comprise of members from the local communities, panchayat and local police, and are led by a sociologist.
Rapid Action Protection in Tamil Nadu:
India has 3 of the world’s 32 bio diversity hotspots. The south Indian landscape is one of these. The reserve forests of Tamil Nadu are contiguous to the Nilgiri landscape and are important sanctuaries to various endangered species including the Tiger. In this landscape, we extended our support in the following three areas:
Snare-free forests for Tigers – ‘Anti-snare Walks’ for anti-poaching in Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
Re-Fabrication of Rapid Response Units in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, contiguous to Sathyamangalam.
Equipping forest staff in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, with anti-poaching kits.
Partnership with NDTV and Wildlife Conservation Trust:
Reaching the masses with their active participation in Saving Our Tigers has always been a goal of Aircel. It is only when the masses rally for a cause such as this that high impact becomes tangible and realised.
Aircel along with NDTV, held the 1st and 2nd Save Our Tigers Telethon in 2010 and 2012. Besides the large awareness that it created, over Rs 10 Cr was donated by the public to work on Tiger conservation. We partnered with the NGO - Wildlife Conservation Trust to implement high impact on ground projects with the funds so generously donated. The projects consisted of developing and deploying Rapid Response Unit vehicles, revamping anti- poaching camps and training of foresters. We have been able to effectively place 41 Rapid Response Units in 35 tiger reserves, train frontline forest guards in various aspects of conservation and revamp over 1167 anti-poaching camps across most tiger reserves.
For more informstion on Aircel-NDTV partnership click here
Partnership with Sanctuary Asia:
Aircel partnered Sanctuary Asia in 2010 to create awareness and kindle the conservationist mindset amongst our generation next. It is understood that the voice of children ring the loudest and the clearest. In these projects with Sanctuary Asia we reach out to lacs of children across the country creating awareness on the need to Save Our Tigers.
Kids for Tigers
is a wildlife conservation initiative driven by a national campaign envisioned and implemented by Sanctuary Asia over a decade ago. Conducted in Schools across 15 cities, the program uses the Tiger as a metaphor for all of nature and as a symbol of the environmental health of the habitats in which it is found. The program emphasizes that the survival of the Tiger in the wild is intricately linked to the survival of all life forms including humans. It further draws connections between wildlife, forest conservation and global climate issues. The program grasps the vital connection between the survival of the Tiger and the country’s future ecological health.
Kids for Tigers Express
was launched in April 2011 by Jairam Ramesh – Minister of Environment. The KFT Express is a fully equipped edutainment van that traverses the villages around Ranthambhore National Park spreading awareness and importance amongst the communities on the need to Save Our Tigers. Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve has one of the better populations of Tigers, but has a number of villages that have been relocated from within the park. This had led to a lot of resentment towards not only the authorities but also Tigers. The ‘Kids for Tigers Express’ has a dedicated team who work with a mission to negate this feeling and bring forth a positive mindset change whereby the folk are the champions of the cause. Ms Bina Kak – Rajasthan Minister of Tourism, Forests, Art and Culture re launched this Van in March 2013 at her residence in Jaipur. The event was well attended by Forest Officials and school kids.
Strokes for Stripes:
We invited sixteen of India’s leading artists, such as Sanjay Bhattacharya, Shivani Bharadwaj, Niladri Paul and others to paint for the cause. Their paintings were auctioned at an event in Delhi to raise funds and create awareness amongst the elite in Delhi. Funds generated have been utilized in capacity building in Sathyamangalam and Meghamalai Tiger reserves through our partner NGO - WildLife Trust of India.