Role of Educational Institutions in Wildlife Conservation and Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation

03 Aug, 2019

Workshop for the Principals and Senior Teachers in West Bengal

A one-day workshop was organised for principals and senior teachers in the academic institutions of North Bengal to bring about a common understanding on the issues of wildlife appreciation, ecosystem services and human-wildlife conflict mitigation. The event was organised by the Indo-German Project “Human Wildlife Conflict Mitigation (HWC)” in India in partnership with the West Bengal Forest Department on 3rd Aug 2019, Chalsa, North Bengal.

The day started with a welcome note and an overview of the HWC project by Dr. Neeraj Khera. Mr Ujjal Ghosh, CCF Wildlife North circle of West Bengal and Ms. Nisha Goswami, DFO Gorumara Wildlife Division welcomed the participants on behalf of the West Bengal Forest Department. The resource persons included Mr. Prasanta Kumar Pandit, Retired CCF from West Bengal Forest Department and Ms. Alka Tomar, Co-Founder of Centre for Environment Communication. The day’s sessions focused on the overall concept and action plan of the activities to be followed by each participant institution towards nature conservation and human-wildlife conflict mitigation.

Twenty-two academicians from seven institutions participated in the workshop. A panel discussion was conducted to set the base for further discussions. An introductory overview of basic wildlife ecology and behaviour, focusing on some key species and concepts of Ecosystem Services was presented by Mr. Aritra Kshettry, DST Inspire Fellow. This was followed by an interactive session by Dr. Neeraj Khera where she gave an overview of human-wildlife conflict (HWC), its drivers, and perceptions on the mitigation measures. The participants then discussed their findings and perceptions in a panel discussion. Mr. Ujjal Ghosh ,thereafter, delivered the keynote speech where he gave a detailed overview of the North Bengal landscape in terms of its historical and ecological features in wildlife conservation and discussed land-use changes as the major drivers of HWC.

During the post-lunch session, the participants were divided into four groups where a Knowledge Café was conducted with special focus on issues of wildlife conservation and good practices of nature conservation as a part of their existing curricular and extra-curricular activities. The participants brainstormed about their future challenges to adopt good practices from other parts of India as well as global good practices on nature conservation. The Knowledge Café was followed by another interactive session where the participants from same institution worked together to share ideas on developing action plans for two activities on wildlife and nature conservation within the next six months by their respective institutes. The groups also reflected on their contributions in planning their respective action plans in a sustainable and effective manner. At the end of the workshop, the participants received certificates and key messages from Mr. Ujjal Ghosh, Mr. Prasanta Kumar Pandit and Dr. Neeraj Khera.