Discovery, WWF tie up to preserve Sundarbans

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on August 19, 2019

To help save the world’s only mangrove tiger habitat, Discovery India and WWF India have partnered with the Forest Directorate, the government of West Bengal and local communities in the Sundarbans.

With a vision to create climate-smart villages in the Sundarbans, WWF India and Discovery India are working with government agencies, civil society partners and scientific institutions to build the capacity of village panchayats and local communities to incorporate climate resilience into development planning, thereby helping secure livelihoods, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The project will use technology to solve several of the issues faced in the region. This includes building datasets on impacts of climate change on the estuarine ecosystem. Through this project, in partnership with the West Bengal Forest Directorate and IISER Kolkata, two Sundarbans Ecological Observatories will be set up, each featuring data loggers, monitoring buoys and an onsite laboratory.

Impact of climate change

WWF India has already been working in the region to promote sustainable livelihoods, access to clean energy, and effective human-wildlife conflict management. Through the partnership with WWF India, Discovery’s new project aims to assist the Forest Directorate for effectively managing populations of tiger, prey and their habitat in Sundarbans, and reduce human-tiger conflict.

It will work with panchayats help build resilient communities in this ecologically-fragile and climatically-vulnerable region, said Discovery.

The initiative also focusses on enhancing farmland productivity through low-cost measures and adjusting crop calendars to deal with climate change. The initiative will also include work towards securing habitats for tigers and prey species. “This partnership between WWF India and Discovery India is significant as it brings together different institutions for the benefit of communities and wildlife of Sundarbans. This includes the setting up of ecological observatories, reducing human-wildlife conflict and providing scientific inputs for proper management,” said Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF India.

“The project at Sundarbans is part of a global movement – Project CAT – Conserving Acres for Tigers – aimed at building healthy habitats for Tigers wherein we support conserve nearly six million acres of protected land across four countries. In India, beyond Sundarbans, a detailed intervention is also being implemented at Manas Tiger Reserve,” said Megha Tata, Managing Director – South Asia, Discovery.

Published on August 19, 2019

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