Wildlife SOS Celebrates World Environment Week
Wildlife SOS is a non-profit organization established in 1995 by Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani with the primary objective of rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife in distress in the country. Wildlife SOS works to build lasting partnerships with local communities, government agencies and organisations with an endeavour towards making them active participants and beneficiaries of biodiversity conservation.
The organisation has evolved to actively work towards protecting Indian wildlife, curtailing poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, conserving habitats, studying biodiversity, mitigating man-wildlife conflict, conducting research and creating alternative and sustainable livelihoods for erstwhile poacher communities, sponsoring education for their children and empowering their women.
Wildlife SOS’ major project was the abolition of the barbaric practice of dancing bears in which sloth bear cubs were poached from the wild and trained using cruel methods to entertain tourists. Wildlife SOS started work on the rehabilitation of the Kalandar communities (originally Muslim gypsies with a highly nomadic lifestyle who were famous for their mastery over animals) through education and an alternative livelihood program as an extension of this dancing bear rescue project.
Till date, they have rescued and rehabilitated 628 dancing bears that are now living peacefully in four large natural sanctuaries across India, enjoying a life where they’ll never again have to endure such cruelty and pain. Of the four centres, the Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre (BBRC) is located in the state of Karnataka and is currently home to 78 sloth bears.
This year, as a collaborative initiative the team at BBRC and the Bannerghatta National Park joined hands to celebrate World Environment Week. They felt that the best way to honour India’s rich natural heritage was through spreading a conscious message by conducting awareness building activities, in an effort to inspire people to protect and preserveour diverse wildlife species and their natural habitats.
The week-long event kicked off with a cleanliness drive where 25 volunteers got together with the Wildlife SOS staff at the Bannerghatta National Park. Wildlife SOS Director-Wildlife Veterinary Operations Dr. Arun A Sha and Assistant Director of Veterinary Services (BBP) Dr.Sujay, conducted a brief workshop on conservation awareness and human wildlife conflict mitigation. This was followed by a skit performed by the bear keepers and the volunteers even came up with slogans and quotes on the importance of environmental conservation.The events concluded with the Wildlife team conducting awareness programs across local schools and a tree plantation drive at the
Bannerghatta National Park. Through their awareness and out-reach programs, Wildlife SOS aims to evoke a sense of compassion within the public, especially the younger generations to have a more sensitized understanding of the environment and to inspire people to take active participation in working to improve and protect it.
Adventure & Wildlife magazine is proud to have contributed to this noble initiative by participating in the activities.