Six tiger reserves in the Satpuda Landscape of Central India
A computer engineer, Kishor Rithe gave up his secure lecturer’s job at an engineering college to work full-time on the one mission that drives his purpose – wildlife conservation. His story proves conclusively that the tiger benefits directly when people with missionary zeal step in to protect it.
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He works with a large network of barefoot tiger activists in the greater Satpuda landscape, which includes Melghat, Nagzira, Pench and Tadoba. He fights dams, mines, encroachments, roads… and even against poaching gangs. In 1990, Kishor established the Nature Conservation Society, Amravati (NCSA), a student’s organisation in the Vidarbha region, to work exclusively on wildlife and forest issues. Through its work organising nature camps for schoolchildren, birdwatchers’ meets and small conservation campaigns, NCSA became well known in Maharashtra within a decade. With the Save Satpuda movement, Kishor mobilised local communities to work together for conservation and tiger protection in the Satpuda Landscape.
In 2001, Kishor established the Satpuda Foundation to highlight the biodiversity richness of the Central Indian Highlands (the Satpuda mountain range), educate different sections of the society about its importance, and tackle threats to the area’s forests and wildlife through coordinated, research-based conservation action. Through the Foundation, Kishor has been strengthening local citizen organisations to make a measurable impact on wildlife protection and forest conservation. His effective network has connected local organisations with each other, and linked them to other related organisations in national and international partnerships.
At 41, this conservation practitioner has spent more than 20 years in the forests of central India protecting forests, tigers, and other wildlife. He is working with local communities, academicians, field biologists, media, politicians and administrators for conservation of the Satpuda Landscape. He recently obtained a post-graduate degree from the University of Oxford in International Conservation Practices. Kishor is presently serving on the highest wildlife policy-making body of the Indian government, the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Singh. He has also served as an executive member of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). He is a member of several government committees including the Maharashtra State Board for Wildlife, Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board, and the Tiger Conservation Plan Committee of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). National and international awards have come his way, but his only real reward he says is “more secure tigers and larger tiger landscapes.”
Read more about Kishor here: Meet Kishor Rithe.
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Kishor’s model centers on two essential and non-negotiable strategies. 1. Give the tiger suitable physical space to live. 2. Give the tiger isolation and protection from humans. He believes that conservation and protection must be led by local people to sustain their interest and participation over an extended period of time. He also believes that it is crucial to secure the support of those who shape policy and public opinion, including government officials, academicians, non-government conservation groups, media, and the general public.
The Satpuda Foundation is a non-profit NGO registered under Society’s Registration Act, 1860 (Section 21) and it needs financial support. The Foundation has a corporate social responsibility cell called ‘HUM’ to provide corporate houses with an opportunity to extend their support. The Foundation also offers employment and volunteering opportunities to interested candidates.
For more information visit: http://www.satpuda.org/howcanihelp.php
Source: Sanctuary Asia.