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Safety Education

Thank you for your amazing support throughout 2023 so far. Your donations have helped us to widen our education projects this year to include: education packs for children living with wild tigers; desks and seating for 100 children at the Damna village school; backpacks for 120 children; and this month wildlife safety education for every village in Bandhavgarh.

This latest initiative is bringing together our projects to reduce human-wildlife conflict, our anti-poaching patrols and our education projects in an innovative way not previously tried. The overall objective of this initiative is to ensure that wild tigers have a wild future living harmoniously alongside the people whose ancestors have be guardians of the forest in the centuries which have gone by. Once, not so long ago, 100,000 wild tigers roamed the earth living alongside people with both giving the other space to thrive. Now there are only 4500 but many more humans and far less space for the wildlife.

If humans and wild animals can’t live alongside each other in harmony, then the future for wild tigers will be very bleak indeed. For this reason, we have prioritised forest safety education so we can address the increase in human-wildlife conflict which threatens to undermine the successes we have had to date in boosting wild tiger numbers!

Having already helped 820 children living with wild tigers gain access to education over the last year, we wanted to expand our education project to ensure wildlife safety too. We couldn’t have done this without your kind donations so thank you for helping us to achieve this goal.

Educating 105 Villages

Delivering safety education messages to 105 villages isn’t easy when you only have a small team and there are literacy and language barriers to overcome. Difficult doesn’t mean impossible though. Many of us know the phrase pictures speak louder than words, so we have decided to put this to the test. The biggest threats to life for wildlife and humans in Bandhavgarh currently come from four main species: Tigers, Elephants, Snakes and Leopards. Although there wasn’t one solution to address all the risks and challenges, so we started with words.

By talking to our anti-poaching patrollers, local educators, wildlife experts and the victims of wildlife attacks we began to compile a table of the most common causes of wildlife attacks and attacks on wildlife. It was quite a comprehensive list. The next stage was looking for solutions to each problem. Would it be something to avoid, mitigate or remove the risk. The table expanded, we now had eight pages of problems and solutions, but it was entirely in English! Very few of the people who live in the rural villages around Bandhavgarh speak, read or write English so we needed a translation into Hindi, being the most commonly spoken language around Bandhavgarh, and a solution for those who couldn’t read either Hindi or English.

We needed someone to turn our words into pictures. We came up with the idea of creating images like those seen on airline and ship safety cards to indicate the do’s and don’ts of safety education. Now we had the idea, the words and the challenge, to find a graphic designer who could put our words into pictures which would be understood by all.

It takes time

After 3 months of work, we finally had the first designs. A few tweaks here and there and we were ready to put together the final designs for approval by those who would deliver the safety education messages. At first we considered 4 laminated cards one for each species to be carried and issued by our anti-poaching patrollers when they encounter people in the forest. This would take too long to deliver the message to everyone, especially as much of the human-wildlife conflict happens when wildlife enters the villages to raid crops and livestock. Putting up metal notices was expensive, time consuming and not environmentally friendly as notices would need to be set in concrete and painted by hand. In addition, we have experienced destruction of metal information boards by wild elephants over the last 3 years. Each village has a meeting place or Chaupal which would be an ideal place for posting safety education information for all to see. Therefore, we decided to use local printers in Bandhavgarh to produce huge weatherproof banners with tiger and elephant safety information on one and leopard and snake safety information on the other. We also hope to put these banners up at 10 key forest locations visited by tourists and other non-residents so that they can benefit from forest safety education too.

This week we have ordered 115 of each type of banner plus 100 of each type of banner as a smaller laminated card to be issued at forest outposts and carried by our anti-poaching patrols in the vehicle in case of need. We will start to deliver and mount these banners over the next few weeks and will deliver a safety brief to the villagers so they can familiarise themselves with how to behave when wild animals approach or when entering their forest home.

We hope to help in other areas too

Human-wildlife conflict is a growing problem in tiger territories all over India, so we hope that we can help in areas outside Bandhavgarh too. Reproducing these forest safety education resources elsewhere shouldn’t be as difficult as doing it for the first time, however, funding the production and distribution of them will be a much bigger challenge! For now, we hope to reduce the loss of life both human and wildlife in Bandhavgarh by ensuring that everyone in the 105 villages has access to the forest safety education delivered by Tigers4ever.

Nonetheless if elephants, leopards, snakes and wild tigers, are to have long term futures in Bandhavgarh, it is essential that the human and wildlife communities can live together in harmony.

Traditional Educational Resources

We are not turning our backs on the poorest children living in the villages around Bandhavgarh. We will continue to raise funds to ensure that these children can go to school and become future protectors of wild tigers. We just feel that with more tigers and more elephants living in and around Bandhavgarh the risk of retaliatory attacks on wildlife is too high! By ensuring the people know how to protect themselves and keep wildlife safe, we hope that such attacks will reduce.

It would be wonderful to know that you have helped us to keep thousands of wild animals safe thanks to our latest education projects, would it not?

If you wish to help us provide banners for safety education training and issue a donation of £14 (US$18) will help us to provide them at one location. Donate here.

The Record so Far

We have helped 3135 children living with wild tigers in 32 villages gain access to education, so we still have some way to go. Sadly, there are still thousands more children who desperately need your help! We want to continue this valuable project across as many villages as possible and to help all the children who otherwise wouldn’t have chance to go to school. In order to do this, we will need to raise funds for many more education packs and forest safety resources. If you’re able to help us do this, please donate now, even the smallest donation can have a big impact in the lives of these children and their families.

For every £1400 (US$1800) we raise, we aim to send 450 children living with wild tigers to school. We will continue to distribute all education packs in the hardest hit villages and will try to raise further funds so that we can also help the pop-up schools again when these resume.

If you are able to help us help more children to have an education and become tiger protectors rather than foragers, please consider a new monthly donation as it’s never too late to make a difference.

Long Term Impact – Help is Still Needed

Our experience has shown us over the last 13 years, that without education, the prospects for the poorest children will be limited to picking tendu leaves, mahua flowers, amla fruit, from the forest to sell. Others will chop down trees and clear precious forest habitat to create more land for agriculture. Children from the poorest families still have no access to online learning facilities, as they live without electricity or access to technology. Help support our education project.

Your support for our work is amazing. We definitely couldn’t keep wild tigers safe without it. As the world tries to rebuild its lives, we hope that we can provide a brighter future for some of Bandhavgarh’s poorest children. If you can help to support Bandhavgarh’s poorest rural children by starting a new monthly recurring donation from just £5 (US$8) per month, you will make a huge difference for at least 15 children in a year.

In Bandhavgarh, for the thousands of young children with no access to schooling, without computers or mobile phones, without electricity in their homes, a bleak future awaits. These are the children who Tigers4Ever has always tried to help with books and basic writing materials which give them hope. With your help we give them a chance which otherwise they may not have.

You Can Make a Difference Today

We want to ensure that the poorest children get a chance to complete their education. We want to do more but we need your help to provide education packs so children can go to school right now. Your donation of £25 (US$40) can make that happen for at least 5 children.

Remember: when we provide education packs and scholarships for children living with wild tigers we are reducing the risk of future tiger habitat destruction AND ensuring that these children have the opportunity to become future tiger protectors.

I would like to thank you for your generosity and support on behalf of the wild tigers, which we are keeping safe; on behalf of the children who we have helped to get an education (and their families who have food because of this help); and on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing books and writing materials for inclusion in the education packs which we distribute; and also the safety education training materials we will be using going forward. Stay Safe.

Everything Changes

New Beginnings

WILD TIGER TALE

When Hope Faded

We Gave Them Hope