Date: February 2021- Ongoing
Last Wilderness Foundation in association with the Panna Tiger Reserve Management has initiated the Gram rakshak programme. The idea behind this project is to rope in selected community members from sensitive villages situated in the buffer zone of the reserve to act as ‘rakshaks’ or guardians appointed from each of these villages to protect people as well as wild denizens in the forests. The main role of the rakshaks is to pass on any information about untoward incidents of forest fires, hunting or any ill legal activity that is encountered around their respective areas. Apart from passing on of information, the selected community member is also responsible for conservation outreach with regard to the do’s and don’ts, and the precautionary measures to be taken while living around the tiger reserve. They have already been through an initial training process, wherein they have been oriented about their roles and responsibilities and trained on working in tandem with the Forest Department on information sharing.
As of now, rakshaks from 11 sensitive villages ( Janwar, Jhalai, Dhangarh, Akola, Jardobha, Dobha, Itwankala, Tara, Koni, Majhauli and Bilhata) have been chosen. This initiative is being supported by Astral Foundation.