The Corbett Foundation and the University of Edinburgh, UK have formally collaborated to co-operate and to share information, experience and skills to learn from each other, develop effective working practices and to work jointly.
The specially designed Sakhi stoves require around 40-50% less firewood than the traditional chulahs. These energy-efficient stoves come with a chimney extension that helps in expelling the smoke outside thus keeping the kitchen smoke-free. Over 600 Sakhi stoves have been installed already.
The use of biogas in the buffer zones of tiger reserves has proved to be one of the best interventions to reduce the dependency on fuel wood. This also helps in reducing man-animal conflict and grazing pressures. Around 25 biogas plants have been provided to villagers so far.
Around 2200 tribal youths and other forest-dependent communities have been trained in over 40 vocational skills under the Pukaar initiative since 2012 to reduce the people’s dependency on forests. Around 1500 more will benefit from this scheme till 2018.
This project covers the open farm wells with chain-linked fencing to prevent accidental drowning of wild animals. In the first phase, 200 such open wells that are closest to the core zone of Bandhavgarh Tiger reserve have been fenced to mitigate the man-animal conflict in the area.
In one of longest running tiger conservation programmes, over 12,000 livestock depredation cases have been recorded in and around Corbett Tiger Reserve from 1997-98 to 2014-15 and a total interim compensation of over INR 1.4 crores (around USD 235,000) have been paid under this scheme to prevent revenge killings of tigers and leopards.
Our campaign to protect the last surviving population of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard in Kutch, Gujarat ensured the protection of important bustard habitat in the semi-arid region of Kutch.
We work closely with SAVE to protect the critically endangered vultures. Research, grassroots advocacy, capacity buidling and awareness are important tools to take the message across to the community.
Local communities and tigers commonly share natural ecosystems, and this often gives rise to conflict situations. The Corbett Foundation has adopted a multipronged strategy to help create a harmonious co-existence between tigers and human beings by providing primary healthcare, veterinary care, alternative livelihoods and sustainable initiatives to the local communities.
Corbett Tiger Reserve lies mainly in the districts of Nainital, Almora and Pauri Garhwal. The reserve, extending over the Terai and Bhabar tracts in Uttarakhand, covers a total area of 1288.31 sq km. This erstwhile hunting ground was first protected by Major Ramsey in 1858. He banned farming and cattle grazing in the lower Patlidun Valley, which now forms a large portion of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. Finally, in 1936, Governor Malcolm Hailey declared it as a National Park, which was India’s first and the world’s third National Park. Hailey National Park, as it was then known, covered around 325 sq km, and Major James E. Corbett (popularly known as Jim Corbett) was one of the key consultants in defining its boundaries. Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter-turned-conservationist, was highly instrumental in preservation of its unique wildlife and dense forests. In his honor, the park was renamed as Corbett National Park in 1957, two years after Jim Corbett’s death. In 1973, the Government of India launched the Project Tiger and Corbett National Park was one of the first to be included under this project.
The terrain of the park is hilly, ranging from 600-1100 m above the sea level, and consisting of mixed deciduous forests of Sal (Shorea robusta) and Sheesham (Dalbergia sissoo) and open grassy patches known as chaurs. The park is famous for its amazing biodiversity consisting of more than 580 species of birds, around 50 species of mammals, at least 25 species of reptiles in addition to hundreds of species of insects and plants.
Some of its famous inhabitants include Mammals such as Tiger, Asian Elephant, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Goral, Chital, Sambar, Barking Deer, Hog Deer, Indian Porcupine, Yellow-throated Marten, and Himalayan Langur; Reptiles such as Mugger Crocodile, Gharial Crocodile, King Cobra and Rock Python; Birds such as Kingfishers, Wagtails, Forktails, Pheasants, Hornbills, Eagles, Vultures, and Storks in addition to several species of migratory waterfowl. The Corbett Foundation works in over 180-odd villages in and around Corbett Tiger Reserve and its surrounding forest divisions.
Bandhavgarh is set amongst the Vindhyan Hills of Madhya Pradesh. Spread over 1598.10 sq km in Umaria district, the terrain of the park is largely rocky with hills interspersed with grasslands and densely forested valleys covered with bamboo and Sal trees. Bandhavgarh is undoubtedly famous for its tigers but it has a wide range of other mammalian species inhabiting the park. While Sambar (the largest deer of the Indian subcontinent) and Chital or Spotted Deer (the major prey species of tigers & leopards) are seen in large numbers, the Muntjac (popularly known as the Barking Deer) and the Chowsingha or Four-horned Antelope are not uncommon to sight. Nilgai or Blue Bull, which is the largest Asian antelope and Chinkara, the Indian gazelle, are sighted in the open areas near the villages.
The Leopard though sighted rarely, co-exists with the Tiger. Species like Jungle Cat, Striped Hyena, Jackal, Indian Fox, Wild Boar, Wolf too are sighted frequently. So are the Sloth Bear, Porcupine, Ratel and the Indian Pangolin. The primates seen in the park are the Rhesus Macque and the Northern Plains Langur. The cliffs around Bandhavgarh fort are excellent breeding sites for the Indian Vultures. The Corbett Foundation works in over 40-odd villages in and around Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.
A part of the Satpura-Maikal Hills in Madhya Pradesh, Kanha Tiger Reserve is spread over 2051.79 sq km of dense Sal forest and Bamboo groves interspersed with the huge meadows. Kanha’s topography and geology together give Kanha the habitat richness and biodiversity. The range of elevation is 450m to 900m. The bauxite-capped hills sport extensive plateau regions, locally called as dadar, which carry extensive grasslands with only sparse tree growth; also a favourite haunt of the rare Four-horned Antelope.
In the 1930s, Kanha area was divided into two sanctuaries, Hallon (250 sq km) and Banjar (300 sq km). In 1955, through a special legislation, 249 sq km of Kanha Valley was declared as a National Park. Subsequently, other areas were added to the Park and finally Kanha National Park was brought under the Project Tiger in 1973-74. Since then, several conservation programmes have been implemented in Kanha for its diverse flora and fauna. As a result, Kanha is considered one of the best and the finest wildlife areas of India. Kanha is home to the endemic Hard-ground Barasingha.
Other famous wild denizens of Kanha include Tiger, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Sambar, Gaur, Wild Dog (43 species of mammals), around 300 species of birds, at least 26 species of reptiles, over 600 species of flora. Over 350 species insects and more than 70 species of spiders have so far been documented in Kanha.
Kanha and Pench tiger reserves are connected through an S-shaped forested landscape, popularly known as the Kanha-Pench Corridor (KPC). This 16,000 sq km corridor acts as a refuge for tigers and several other mammals such as wild dogs, sloth bear, leopard, hyena, jackal, and sambar to name a few. The Kanha-Pench Corridor also harbours gaur and is known to facilitate their movement.
The Corbett Foundation extends its work in around 20-odd villages in the KPC in Balaghat district. This is in addition to the 50-odd villages it works around Kanha Tiger reserve..
The Great Rann of Kutch together with the Little Rann of Kutch and the Banni grasslands make up the district of Kutch with an area of approximately 30,000 square kilometres! It is one the largest districts of India. During the monsoons, the flat desert of salty clay and mudflats, which average 15 metres above sea level, are filled with standing waters. There are also sandy islets of thorny scrub, forming a wildlife sanctuary and a breeding ground for some of the largest flocks of greater and lesser flamingos. The famous Great Indian Bustards, a critically endangered bird is also found in the district of Abdasa. In the past decade, this area has been facing an increasing loss of wilderness areas because of anthropogenic pressure.
Kutch is the only district in India where four distinct ecosystems (Desert, Coastal, Grassland and Upland) exists within a span of 100 km. Needless to say, Kutch harbours extremely rich biodiversity, including the endangered Asiatic Wild Ass that is endemic to the area. The Rann of Kutch is a unique and largest seasonal wetland of its type in India without any counterparts elsewhere in the world. Occupying 45% of the total area of Kutch, these areas turn into huge wetlands in good monsoon year thereby providing excellent habitat for resident and migratory birds, including the ‘Flamingo City’, which is the largest and the only known breeding ground of Greater and Lesser Flamingos in India. The area together with the Banni grasslands and other smaller wetlands like Chharidhand is one of the best areas for sightings of rare bird species like Grey Hypocolius, Eurasian Eagle-Owl, Common Crane, Dalmatian Pelican, Houbara Bustard, Curlew Sandpiper, Sociable Plover, Cream-coloured Courser and Indian Skimmer.
In 1985, Kaziranga National Park, situated along the Brahmaputra flood plains in Assam, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its unique natural environment. This famous park is located in Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam. It is one of the most beautiful parks in the world and is renowned for the sheer numbers and easy sightings of the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, having more than 2000 of them. Kaziranga Tiger Reserve proudly holds over 90% of the world’s Greater One-horned Rhinoceros population. Rhino conservation in Kaziranga has been hailed as one of the most successful stories of species conservation in the world. As per the census conducted in 2015, a total of 2401 rhinos are inhabitants of Kaziranga.
The park with an area of 1173.58 sq kms is also home to large breeding populations of Asian Elephants, Wild Buffaloes, Swamp Deer and Hog Deer. Kaziranga, with over 480 species of resident and migratory bird species recorded, is known as a paradise for birders and for its conservation of avifaunal species. It is a success story with its stringent park management as armed forest guards are deployed to fight poachers.
Some of the threatened birds found here are the Lesser White-fronted Goose, Ferruginous Duck, Baer’s Pochard, Lesser and Greater Adjutant Storks, Black-necked Stork and Swamp Francolin, White-tailed Fishing Eagle, Bengal Florican, Great Indian Hornbill, Finn’s Weaver, Bristled Grassbird and Black-breasted Parrotbill. The reptile life too is quite exciting at Kaziranga with around 42 species recorded so far. The Burmese Python, one of the longest snakes of the world, and the King Cobra, one of the longest venomous snakes in the world are common inside the park. Other reptilian species include Bengal Monitor, Water Monitor, Monocled Cobra, Russell’s Viper, Common Krait, Banded Krait, Assam Roofed Turtle, Brown Tortoise and Gharial.
While tigers are elusive here, the other mammals found here include the rare Hispid Hare, Small and Large Indian Civet, Sloth Bear, Indian and Chinese Pangolins, Chinese Ferret Badger, Assamese Macaque, Capped Langur and Hoolock Gibbon . It is easy to spot a herd of elephants or rhinos, grazing undisturbed while villagers and their livestock live in harmony with them.
The rhinos of Kaziranga face grave threat from the ruthless poachers who kill these majestic creatures for their horns to be smuggled into the illegal wildlife trade, mostly to cater the demands in Chinese markets. Between 1980 and 2014, more than 650 Greater One-horned Rhinoceros have been ruthlessly killed by poachers in Kaziranga Tiger Reserve. There is a crisis building over the future of the rhinos in Kaziranga.
The Corbett Foundation works in around 30-odd villages around Kaziranga Tiger Reserve.