Conserving Sloth bear in Gujarat through community outreach: A long term solution to alleviate the human sloth bear conflict

  • Focal species: Sloth bear
  • Secondary species: leopard
  • Countries: India
  • Name of organisation: Wildlife and Conservation research Lab, HNG University
  • Support requested:
    contributions for specific items >1000 euro,
    materials
  • Does this project benefit local people through employment and/or capacity building: yes
  • Does this project benefit local people in other ways: This program primarily focuses on conserving sloth bear by incresing tolerance of locals towards the animal. This includes educating school children by conducting sessions, visits to the forest and providing study material. Here, we also work on making the local youth capable to fulfill our target and become the torch bearer for the project in future as educators and tourist guides. Our community outreach center and this project will generate the employment opportunity for the local youth.

Project Description

Sloth bears are found across the Indian sub-continent and 85% of its population lies in fragmented patches in India. Habitat desctruction and increasing anthropogenic pressure are two of the reasons of increasing human-sloth bear interactions.
Our goal is to reduce conflicts in the region by generating positive attitude towards the species and enhancing tolerance amongst people living in the sloth bear habitat.
We started our work by studying the distribution and status of sloth bear and understanding the reasons for conflicts in Gujarat, the western most limit of sloth bear distribution. To study the human dimension, we have scientifically assessed the perception of locals towards sloth bear in comparison to other wild animals and found that the local people are highly hostile for sloth bear. Our awareness campaigns among the tribal villages gave some encouraging results; this shows that there is a need to inculcate positivity and enhance the tolerance of locals towards the species. This can be achieved through providing true and scientific information about the species by involving the locals in the conservation work. We would like to initiate the community outreach programme in areas of high human-sloth bear conflcits in Gujarat. These programmes are aimed for initial two years at the conservation outreach center and train the locals, EDC members and Eco-Guides so that the outreach will sustain in future. Following are the activites we would like to do in this programme;
1.A state of the art Conservation Outreach Center to display all information about sloth bear.
2.To publish and circulate small pocket booklets on sloth bear among the local people.
3.Science based conservation education to children in the tribal schools.
4.Organizing Training of Trainers (volunteers and teachers) to disseminate scientific information about sloth bear.
5.Spreading conservation messages with the help of audio-visuals, signages, posters and fliers.

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