Aircel began active on ground support work in 2008 with WWF - India. Post a project - donor match, we conceptualized and put to practice two projects, detailed below:
Support Initiative Fund - In this project, we worked across all the tiger reserves in the country, extending infrastructure and capacity support on per need basis.
Infrastructure buildup by way of providing vehicles for anti-poaching measures has created a huge impact in many of the reserves, which lacked means to effectively carry forth anti-poaching patrols. We have equipped Forest Guards with necessary gear and protective wear to enable unhindered work from their end. Compensation to them in cases of injury or loss of life has also highly motivated effective duty. Cattle compensation is also an important part of the project, negating human – animal conflict.
Conservation of Tigers in Assam: The state of Assam has one of the highest densities of Tiger populations in the country, but also has very high human – animal conflict. We concentrated on capacity building here, carrying out extensive work on training of forest guards in anti-poaching measures, infrastructure buildup within the tiger reserves and in securing corridors.
A considerable impact is noticed here. We provided patrolling vehicles and boats, built watch towers, anti-poaching camps and maintained roads inside the reserves. All this has facilitated impactful anti-poaching measures. Post training to foresters on the correct way of wildlife crime reporting, conviction rates have increased manifold. The number of retaliatory killings has declined due to timely compensation to villagers for the loss of their cattle.
Conflict mitigation in Sunderbans:The Sunderbans are known for one of the healthiest Tiger populations, but in the recent years have had an increase in incidents of Human- Animal conflicts due to Habitat destruction along with increase in population. In an attempt to negate this, Aircel along with WWF-India worked in a conflict mitigation project in the Sunderbans.
Tigers don’t like to traverse on well-lit paths like humans. We lit nine villages in the Sunderbans by providing Solar Lamps to prevent human - animal conflict. We have also put into use a unique trapping cage; where in case a Tiger strays into human habitation, it can be trapped into the cage. This cage is technologically advanced, can weigh the Tiger and is much lighter than the earlier ones used. Once the Tiger is trapped a SMS goes out to 5 Forest Officials which helps in a faster and accurate rescue. This goes that extra mile in preventing conflict whereby in many cases, besides humans, the animal is also injured or killed.