05 May Tigers and Community
Sariska is situated in the lap of Aravallis, one of the oldest mountain ranges in India. It lies on the edge of the mighty Thar Desert and is perhaps the western limit of the tiger’s distribution in Northern India. In 1985, Sariska was having only five tigers in its reserve. At that time Tarun Bharat Sangh inspired and involved Sariska’a community to conserve Tiger, made water harvesting structures in the tiger habitat. Tarun Bharat Sangh then prepared community groups to conserve land and jungles. Tarun Bharat Sangh created awareness about the common future of people living there with water, land and forest. Gradually, the things started to improve in Sariska after 1985.
Tarun Bharat Sangh filed a case for the cause of people in the Supreme Court of India. After decision of Supreme Court in 1991, the mining was banned in the hills of Sariska. There was a long fight with the mining mafia. The communities came together and stopped the mining. The area destroyed after mining again started rejuvenating after few years. The number of tigers gradually increased and reached to 28 from five.
Over the years Tarun Bharat Sangh has focused on natural resource conservation and river rejuvenation works. The work had been done in various regions and states during these years. Due to complete focus on other regions we were not aware of what was happening in Sariska. During this period the mining mafia and hunters together made the Sariska void of tigers. Due to this reason Tarun Bharat Sangh again started focusing on making Sariska inhabited by tigers. It started the dialogue with people of Sariska to make it a place inhabited by tigers from a place annulled of tigers.
TBS started a dialogue with the community living near Sariska as well as with the teachers and officers of the place. We decided to convince the Chief Minister of Rajasthan and the then Central Environment Minister, to relocate tigers from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve Project to Sariska. Sariska got the tigers from Ranthambore.
Now there are very less forest guards and officers in the government. We cannot save tigers depending only on the forest department. This can only be done through local communities for saving tigers.
To ensure community involvement in the conservation of tigers, we have started Tiger Awareness programme that holistically covers all the aspects of saving tiger habitat.
During last decade, the bridge of trust among community and the state has been broken. State and local communities are blaming each other for the today’s condition of Sariska. Local communities are feeling detached from their responsibilities for Sariska, which they were performing from lastmany decades. In all this what we are losing is the habitat of Tiger. Our coming generation will again see the tiger-less Sariska.
So, here is the need to bridge the gap among the community and state. It is essential to aware the young generation and attaches them to their heritage of Sariska and their responsibility towards it.
We propose to start community education program for 125 schools of the villages on the periphery of Sariska Tiger Reserve who have direct involvement with the land and forest of Sariska.
Region: Villages on the periphery of the Sariska Tiger Reserve, Alwar, rajasthan.
Goal: To re-create Sariska National Park as a safe and flourishing home of tigers.
- To increase awareness among young generation about the importance of sariska and tigers.
- To bridge the gap among the state and the local communities on the issues related to sariska.
- Enhanced understanding of young generation regarding sariska and tigers.
- Better relationship among the state and the local communities on the issues related to sariska.
We organize following activities for community education program for conserving the forest and tigers of sariska in selected schools.
- Formation of a special cadre of field activists for sariska issues
- Training of the selected field activists to enhance their capacities for working on the related issues.
- Training of teachers at the schools levels
- Tiger awareness camps cum workshops of students and other activities at school levels
- Training of the panchayati raj members of the project villages
- Dialogue between state and local communities on the issues related to sariska creating tension among them.