Saving the Tiger: Volunteer Forest Patrolling in Melghat
Melghat is one of the first nine tiger reserves in India declared under Project Tiger in 1972 and has great importance for conservation of tiger because of its large area and contiguity with the Satpuda landscape. It has an area of nearly 2027 sq.km. It is located in Amravati District in Maharashtra on the border with Madhya Pradesh. Being located in the Satpuda hill range, Melghat has a hilly and rugged terrain. It has rich dry deciduous forests of Central India dominated by teak, and also a variety of other species. The climate is tropical with hot summers and cool winters. Rainfall is moderate occurring mainly from June to September. Sipna, Dolar, Khandu, Gadga and Khapra are the five rivers drain from Melghat into the Tapi. It has a rich wildlife including the Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, Gaur, Sambar, Chital, Barking Deer, Four Horned Antelope, Langur and many other mammal species. Nearly 250 bird species of dry deciduous forests are found in Melghat including the critically endangered Forest Owlet. The village community of Melghat consists mainly of Korku and Gond tribes and Gawli community.
The Forest Department experiences several difficulties in protection of wildlife in Melghat. Being hilly and rugged many of the areas are difficult to protect. Like many other protected areas Melghat also experiences problems such as fires in summer, grazing and occasional poaching cases. This has adverse effect on tiger conservation in this important tiger reserve in Central India. To support the Forest Department in their efforts for conservation of the tiger and its ecosystem Wildlife Research and Conservation Society (WRCS) is implementing a project for conservation of wildlife in Melghat Tiger Reserve in collaboration with the Forest Department. This project is supported by WWF-India. As part of this project WRCS is inviting volunteers to help the field staff of Forest Department in patrolling of the forests. Volunteers who are interested in participating in this initiative are invited to send their applications to WRCS.