This summer the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) received some very welcome new additions. Four new anti-poaching awareness vans were added to the non-profit’s squad of vehicles, bringing their total to seven. These vans are set to travel to remote areas in central India, spreading their message of conservation through public discussions and film screenings.
Purpose of the anti-poaching vans
Since being founded in 1994, WPSI has become one of the most respected and effective wildlife conservation organisations in India. Their anti-poaching vans operate around the fringe forest villages of six national parks including Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench National Park, all of which are tiger habitat.
First launched in 2011, the project’s audio-visual vans are painted with bands of black and orange tiger stripes. They’re systematically taken from village to village, where their arrival is eagerly awaited by the local people. In each location, they offer a local language screening of a film called ‘The Truth about Tigers’ in order to raise awareness about the plight of the country’s tiger population.
As well as the film, the WPSI team is often joined by Forest officers to help build the relationship between local people and the Forest Department. Meaningful discussions are held to find solutions to local disputes. In addition, villagers are informed of any government projects that they could benefit from, including employment and compensation schemes.
WPSI’s anti-poaching vans have already seen tangible results. Around Bandhavgarh National Park alone, the team have reached 69 villages with their message of tiger conservation. Furthermore, over 15,000 people in these villages have become aware of WPSI’s Secret Information Reward Scheme.
The project has also been very successful in reducing corruption, gathering poaching information and speeding up local compensation claims. With the addition of the new anti-poaching vans, it’s hoped that their success will continue.
Importance of tiger conservation
Just one century ago, around 100,000 tigers roamed across Asia. However, with a wild population numbering approximately 3,890, these majestic big cats are endangered. Their biggest threats being poaching, habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict.
In recent years, conservation efforts have led to tiger numbers rising once again. However, much more still needs to be done and it’s only through projects such as WPSI’s that their future can become secure.
What we’re doing to help
As members of Travel Operators for Tigers, we pledge a contribution for each of our clients that join us on a wildlife tour of India. This organization aims to conserve tigers and their natural habitat through the responsible use of nature tourism. As part of our commitment to sustainable travel, this is an initiative that we will be continuing to support in the long-term.
If you’re looking to see tigers in the wild, take a look at our India Group Tours. We visit the country’s top national parks in search of the elusive Bengal tiger.