WTI’s Indu Kumari handing over equipment and reading material to nature guides trained under the skill development course
Rajaji National Park and Sultanpur National Park, December 26, 2017: Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has partnered with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) to initiate a skill development course for conservation guides and naturalists. Ten nature guides from Sultanpur National Park, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Rajaji National Park and Titali Trust were provided training under the project last year. The course was conducted in two phases at the Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environmental Education and Research (BVIEER), Pune, and Asian Adventures, Pangot, Uttarakhand. This month, following a period of assessment and monitoring, the guides were provided with field equipment to further assist them in the conduct of their duties.
The various State Forest Departments appoint guides and naturalists to accompany tourists into national parks and sanctuaries, their role being not just to spot and identify local wildlife but also to educate the tourists in aspects of wildlife conservation and management. A majority of these guides/naturalists are from communities located around the Protected Areas (PAs); earning their livelihood in this manner makes fringe communities stakeholders in wildlife conservation.
The WTI-ONGC training course intended to increase the overall knowledge of participant guides in the areas of ecology, wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism. Monitoring sessions conducted in Rajaji National Park and Sultanpur National Park to evaluate their knowledge and guest handling capabilities found that their guiding techniques had improved since the last training session; they were also found to have wider client circles and had seen a consequent increase in income.
The equipment provided to the trained guides included cameras, monoscopes, binoculars and field guides on mammals and birds. It is hoped this will help them further develop as nature tourism entrepreneurs both within and outside PAs, enabling them to improve their livelihood while furthering conservation awareness and action among tourists.