Aditya Chandra Panda

Tiger habitats of Orissa, Jharkhand and eastern central India

Aditya Panda

While most children his age were occupied with video games, parties and urban pleasures, Aditya Panda accompanied his grandfather through the wilds of Orissa. He was brought up on a staple of shikar and jungle tales and would often refuse to eat a meal unless a copy of National Geographic was read to him. A born naturalist, spending quiet time observing wildlife – whether in his garden or out in the wilderness, his love for wildlife has only increased as he grew into a full-time wildlife conservationist.His heroes include several conservationists and naturalists whose works he grew up reading. He credits Billy Arjan Singh for shifting his mind from pleasure-centric wildlife watching to hardcore conservation.

Your Tiger Defender is making a difference

Aditya is working to empower the foot soldiers working for the tiger in the largely ignored landscapes of his region. He also documents, monitors, lobbies for and brings attention to the lesser-known tiger habitats in the expansive forest landscapes of eastern central India, particularly his home state of Orissa and neighbouring regions. He focuses not just on Protected Areas such as the Satkosia, Similipal and Palamau Tiger Reserves where he has worked, but also on identifying and preserving the integrity of larger tiger and elephant landscapes. He believes that the vastness and contiguity of eastern central India’s tiger landscapes is the key to the survival of tigers here. He has tremendous faith in restoring these areas to their original pride as some of India’s prime tiger landscapes.

Aditya coordinates and works closely with like-minded conservationists, naturalists, scientists, forest officers, journalists and others to return health to tigerland.In addition to his regular conservation work, he also works as the deputy editor of TigerLink, a journal published by the Ranthambhore Foundation, New Delhi, which collates, analyses, comments on and publishes tiger-conservation related news. He is also an experienced wildlife photographer and a naturalist.

Read more about Aditya here: Aditya Chandra Panda.

Help Your Tiger Defender

The majority of forest watchers in tiger reserves such as the Palamau Tiger Reserve are daily wage labourers. Even though they perform duties such as tracking tigers, patrolling, checking fires and repairing roads, they are not permanent employees of the Forest Department. Forest Guards are the lowest-rung employees of the Forest Department. They are meant to form the foot-army of the department, but there is an acute shortage of guards averaging about 40 per cent across the country. Most of the available guards are old and nearing retirement age. In Palamau, for example, the shortage of forest guards is a staggering 90 per cent. The reserve has barely 27 guards to protect 1,130 sq. km. of tiger habitat, as against the 175 it is allotted. The full number itself is insufficient. This makes Palamau totally dependent on its forest watchers for protection and management activities.

Aditya Panda

These watchers are paid very low wages of about Rs. 150 per day and are usually paid only every six months. They are not provided insurance, pension or any other benefits. They must even pay for their own food while on duty. They are not entitled to uniforms, boots, water bottles or other minimal field requirements.

The same is true for most tiger habitats both within and outside the Protected Area Network. This is where Aditya Panda’s focus is right now. It is crucial that this first line of defence for our wildlife is supported. They need to be provided equipment, financial aid, training and capacity building, and support for their families.

Contact: Aditya Panda, D-2, BJB Nagar, Bhubaneswar – 14, India; Tel.: 91-9937704172; Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Source: Sanctuary Asia.