Chat Archives
Chat on "Volunteering at Melghat Tiger Reserve" dated October 20, 2013
  • Susan Sharma: Today's chat topic is "Volunteering at Melghat Tiger Reserve"
  • Susan Sharma: The moderator is Jayant Kulkarni. Jayant Kulkarni is Executive Director,Conservation in WRCS,Pune. He is a former officer from Indian Forest Service. His interests include wildlife and forests conservation with people's participation.
  • Susan Sharma: Welcome all
  • Rao Vandana Parankusam: Good evening.
  • Susan Sharma: Hi Jayant, start with an overview before the questions come?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Yes sure. We can start.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: The Melghat program has been started with the intention of involving citizens in tiger conservation in Melghat Tiger Reserve.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: There are lots of keen naturalists who would like to contribute to wildlife conservation but don't have an opportunity.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: We decided to implement this project so that there is a partnership between citizens and Forest Department in tiger conservation.
  • Divyanshu: Ok.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: We feel that this activity gives interested citizens an opportunity to contribute for tiger conservation in Melghat and assist the Forest Department.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Some of you probably know the nature of the activity. Susan, do you want me to give some details?
  • kapil khatri: but sir for citizens like us , if we just go and spend our 1 week there then how are we helping in our wildlife conservation. i mean what role will we play staying with those gaurds
  • Divyanshu: What does a volunteer do?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: The project site is a remote area. The staff is not always highly motivated and there are problems with supervision by forest officers.
  • Ritika : Sir, I missed the session so it will be helpful if i get some insight about this volunteering opportunity!
  • Divyanshu: What about food & lodging of a volunteer?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Presence of volunteers ensures that patrolling takes place regularly. We have received good feeback about positive impact of the project
  • Ganesh Ghongane: what things we need to carry with us to be a volunteer ?
  • kapil khatri: ok sir
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Volunteers go there and stay for a week in groups of two at each protection camp. They do patrolling every day with forest guards and forest watchers.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: You will get the list of items to carry along when you apply for the program. Food/provisions can be purchased when you arrive there at Jarida.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Lodging is in the protection camps of the Forest Department.
  • Ganesh Ghongane: ok
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Mostly the items to carry are basic personal items, shoes, water bottle, lunch box torch etc.
  • Divyanshu: What is the patrolling for? Poachers?
  • Aakash Hada: When are we expected to join this program as in date ?
  • Divyanshu: Is the patrolling risky? Chances of an attack by poachers &/or animals?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: The purpose of patrolling is to maintain the presence of Forest Department protection force in the area. The poachers will normally keep away when they know that regular patrolling is taking place.
  • kapil khatri: do we have to reach to the malighat reserve by any medium or there will be fixed travel plan on the date we choose.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Aakash there is no last date. It is an ongoing program. You have to stay from sunday to sunday on a week of your choice. We will accomodate you if there is vacancy.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: There is not much risk in patrolling. You have to take basic precautions. You will be in a group so you are quite safe. The staff is knowledgeable so no need to worry. Don't wander off alone and don't wander in the night.
  • Anmol Singh: So we can volunteer for a week during the summer of 2014, right?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Yes you are most welcome in summer of 2014. Please send an application from the IWC application page when you have decided your dates.
  • Anmol Singh: How many volunteers do you accept for a one week period? Is there an upper limit?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: So far 76 volunteers have partcipated from all over India. Some of them have given their experience on blogspot of IWC.
  • Divyanshu: Please tell about some incidents of attacks/accidents on/with volunteers if any.
  • kapil khatri: from where will we get food there?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Anmol we have set a limit of about 20 volunteers in each batch. Normally there is no problem about getting a spot.
  • Aakash Hada: Can we come in a group as in 2-3 of my friends are also interested and all of us want to come for the same week ?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Kapil you buy provisions on arrival at Jarida. You can also bring it with you if you want. The camp labourers will help you cook. You should help them in this.
  • Ganesh Ghongane: If I register now then will it possible to get chance to be volunteer in month of December ?
  • Anika Juneja: Are female volunteers allowed if they are coming alone or they have to accompanied by a male volunteer ?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Aakash you can certainly come in a group. People should be serious and genuine about conservation. They should be physically fit and capabl of walking 10-15 km at least.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Ganesh you can get a chance for December if you apply now.
  • kapil khatri: do we have to reach jarida individually or we will be guided
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Anika we request female volunteers to come with a companion, either male or female, for safety.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Kapil You have to reach individually but you will receive detailed guidance from us.
  • Nilesh Thakur: I belong to Karnataka. Hope this should not be an issue to consider my volunteer application ?
  • Anika Juneja: okay , so two females can come together right , because i read somewhere that a single female has to be necessarily be accompanied by a male volunteer
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Many people from Bangalore and Chennai have participated. There will be no problem. Even broken hindi is good enough for communication.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Anika yes two females can come. We will keep you together.
  • Ganesh Ghongane: I heard that there will be no electricity at all ? is it true ??
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Ganesh, there will be no electricity at all. It is acutally a great experience staying in the forest without electricity. There will be no mobile communication except Reliance CDMA. Most camps do not have toilets or bathrooms.
  • Nilesh Thakur: How frequently will you need our help ? What I meant to ask is How often will the valounteer batches be called for help ?
  • Ganesh Ghongane: Sorry for typo I want to know is there is electricity is available or not ?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Ganesh electricity is not available at all in the camps.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Nilesh we are taking volunteers throughout the year every week.
  • Ganesh Ghongane: ok
  • Divyanshu: Can volunteers leave any time?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Divyanshu we expect volunteers to join on sunday and leave on next sunday. Only if there is an emergency you may leave early.
  • Anmol Singh: Will our stay have to be entirely self financed?
  • Divyanshu: Please tell about some incidents of attacks/accidents on/with volunteers if any.
  • Nilesh Thakur: Apart from us Voluteers who as I understand may hobbysit or amateurs, do scientists and researchers join too, may be sometime to interact with ?
  • Abhishek Mittal: How's the climate in December, are shelter good enough to protect from extremities of weather?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Anmol you have to pay for your travel and food. Normally the expense is not much because food costs only Rs. 600-800 for the entire week and there is no accomodation cost.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Divyanshu there have been no incidents or attacks related to volunteers. It is quite safe. However we require an indemnity letter in remote case that there is an incident.
  • Nilesh Thakur: Apart from Patrolling, will there be any other activity like animal census or some other wild life related activity where we can help so we can come prepared for ?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Nilesh the program is mainly about patrolling. However you will get lot of opportunities to make nature observations.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Abhishek it will be quite cold in winter. Get warm clothes and sleeping bag if possible.
  • Ganesh Ghongane: how many peoples are in one batch ?
  • Divyanshu: Is the water used for cooking & drinking clean?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Nilesh the Forest Department has animal census generally in summer and they advertise about it. If we have any such program we will let you know through IWC.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Ganesh there are maximum 20 persons but only 2 at each camp.
  • Anmol Singh: How extensive is the area? How far apart are the camps?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Divyanshu it is better if you bring along some water purifying tablets especially in summer when the water sources are dry.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Anmol the camps are a 3 to 6 kilometres apart. You have to walk typically 10-15km every day.
  • Rao Vandana Parankusam: Will we be posted in one camp only, or are we supposed to change camps in between?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: You may get to stay in 2 or maximum 3 camps depending on number of volunteers.
  • kapil khatri: sir, is the food cooked by the forest gaurds veg or non veg?
  • Anmol Singh: How many people will be there in each camp, apart from the 2 volunteers?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: I hope we have been able to answer most of the questions! Are there any more questions?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Kapil non-veg food is not allowed in the camps. Alcoholic drinks are also forbidden.
  • kapil khatri: sir ,will the food cooked there veg or non veg?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Apart from the volunteers there are 3-4 forest labourers and on forest guard.
  • Ganesh Ghongane: If we are coming in group of 3-4 people then whom do we request about it so that we all get allocated in one batch ?
  • Nilesh Thakur: The form asks us to mention References of 2 reputed people. I am not sure what kind of information is being seeked what it will be used for ?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Ganesh if you apply together and select same dates then you will be allotted to same batch. However we normally have only 2 persons at each camp. We can try to put you in neighbouring camps.
  • Ganesh Ghongane: ok
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Nilesh we are dropping that requirement. Please get a certificate from your employer or educational institution.
  • Abhishek Mittal: what type of certificate?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Abhishek the company you are working, designation etc. on company letterhead. Or certificate from college that you are a student of xyz course.
  • Ganesh Ghongane: After applying in how many days will get confirmation about our batch and date ?
  • Ganesh Ghongane: so that will plan our travel tickets according to it
  • Abhishek Mittal: What if any poisonous creature like snake bites us during patrolling?
  • Anmol Singh: Oh and can you give us a rough idea of how to get to the reserve from Delhi?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Abhishek So far no such incident has taken place. There is wireless communication in the forest. We will be informed immediately and will make arrangements to bring the volunteer to medical facility.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: We have a project officer stationed permanently at Paratwada. He will leave you to the camps and take care of any problems.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Anmol from Delhi you come to a railway station called Badnera near Amravati city. From there you come to Jarida by bus. You will be given all details when you apply.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: The Forest Department is helping actively in the project. They are very cooperative and the local staff take care if any volunteers have any problems.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Ganesh sorry I missed your question. After completing all application procedures you will normally be confirmed in 1-2 days.
  • Ganesh Ghongane: thank you sir for addressing the question
  • kapil khatri: abhishek i want to go with you so kindly catch up with me later.
  • Nilesh Thakur: If i am ready voluteer sometime in April next year, shall I apply now or postpone my registration for March 2014?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Nilesh you can apply right now.
  • Susan Sharma: Jayant, thank you for addressing the questions so patiently.
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Susan it has been my pleasure. It was a great chat session with so many interested people.Looking forward to everyone's participation. Thanks for the opportunity.
  • Rao Vandana Parankusam: Thank you.
  • Susan Sharma: Thank you all participants. If there are no more questions, shall we close the chat room?
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Thank you every one.
  • Anika Juneja: Thank you
  • Ganesh Ghongane: Thanks Susan ma'am and Jayant Sir...
  • Abhishek Mittal: Thank you
  • Susan Sharma: Thank you and Good night!
  • JAYANT K KULKARNI: Good night.
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