Mhadei and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuaries
Photo: Amit Panariya.
Rajendra Kerkar and his wife Pournima work as a team and have given a new lease on life to tigers in Goa, a state that for several years was in denial… claiming “there are no tigers in Goa,” because the mining lobby believed (rightly!) that this would put paid to their lucrative business, which often relied on illegal mining to reap windfall profits. The Kerkars have delivered over 3,000 talks on the ecology of the larger Goa landscape and have worked doggedly with conservationists for the notification of the Mhadei and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuaries. Believing that local communities are vital to the protection of tigers and wildlife of the area, they have won massive public support against mining, destruction of forests, pollution of rivers and coasts. Rajendra scripted an award-winning film called Devrai, which helped to power grassroots action in youth clubs, mahila mandals and self-help groups.
Photo: Bhushan Pandya/Sanctuary PhotoLibrary.
Your Tiger Defender is making a difference
Rajendra is the State Convenor of the Goa River Conservation Network and Coordinator of the Goa Foundation. He regularly conducts slide shows in schools, colleges and other institutions to win support for the Mhadei Tiger Reserve. He also organises workshops, nature trails, trekking and other activities to involve young people directly in the task of protecting natural tiger habitats and corridors.
He is a member of the Environment Protection Council headed by the Governor of Goa, a member of the State Wildlife Advisory Board chaired by the Chief Minister, and helps private forest owners to protect their forested lands in North Goa. He is currently working to get Goa’s first tiger reserve notified.
Read more about the Kerkars. click here.
Help Your Tiger Defenders
The Kerkars go village by village to show how declaring Mhadei and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuaries as part of a tiger reserve would add to their security and protect them from the mining lobby. This favourable public opinion is probably going to be the most potent weapon, which would enable forest department staff and conservationists to win the support of voters for their tiger mission. Workshops, seminars, nature trails and competitions for students are part and parcel of the Kerkars’ strategy in schools and colleges around Mhadei and Netravali at Sattari, Dharbandora, Sanguem and Canacona. They need support to document how Goa’s forests add to the food, water and climate security of the state. Such literature is required in Marathi, Konkani and English. Apart from this they need to be enabled to meet the cost of conducting village meetings, rallies and other consultations that they organise to improve communications between forest officials and local communities.
Contact: To learn how you can help the Kerkars. Tel.: + 91 94212 48545, Email:
Source: Sanctuary Asia.