Eco Volunteer Training Course- Karnataka Eco Tourism Development Board
This will be a mother of all travel series on desi Traveler blog. I am still not sure how many posts will be there but fasten your seat belts as I take you with me to the Eco Volunteer Training Course by Karnataka Eco Tourism Development Board. This series has 3 main stars that I am a fan of namely
2. Wildlife in India
3. Volunteer Travel
So I think it will be one long series, ( kya karoon, Controll hee nahi hota!)
But we will chop the series into bite size pieces to maintain focus and is based on my experience of traveling for volunteer training for wildlife conservation.
Eco Volunteer Training Course: The course is a joint effort of Karnataka Eco Tourism Development Board and Forest Department of Karnataka, with hospitality provided by Jungle Lodges and resorts (JLR). In past also Karnataka Forest department has invited volunteers to help with Tiger Census, Elephant census and a few other things. But the efforts were not very structured and every time some new folks will come who will not have much idea about what to do in forest. Mind you the volunteers were very enthusiastic and willing to go extra mile for helping Mother Nature but, lacked training on the laws of the Jungle. Hence the forest department had to do the training again every time. Thus the need for a dedicated group of Volunteers was needed who were provided training and will be on call as and when needed by forest department for any census or other activities that the forest department conducts.
The other major reason for training the volunteers is a need for tech savvy people. As the Karnataka Forest department is one of the most tech savvy forest departments in the country. Will be writing a complete post on the same, please be patient. There are many advantages of this approach • You get a pool of trained, dedicated volunteers who know what to do and what not to do when on a visit to forest like Bandipur or Kabini where wild animals like Tiger, Leopards and Elephants are abundant.
• The Forest department gets to spend time with volunteers before; they are given assignments, so non- serious elements can be eliminated at the training stage itself, before they are sent to jungle. It is important to eliminate non serious volunteers as you are going to jungle with a mission to do census in a very scientific way, and not on a Safari as a tourist.
• The volunteers are familiar with all the forms and reports they need to fill in the jungle on spotting various fauna big and small, and understand it is serious business and not a wildlife photography tour to a Tiger Reserve.
• Volunteers get to touch, feel, use various gadgets they will use in the jungle – like GPS, Tiger Trap and software used to record the various animals in the jungle.
• The biggest test of seriousness of volunteers was that the course is a paid course conducted on weekdays when only real serious volunteers will take leave from their work and come to attend the course.
Course Content for the Eco Volunteer Training Course The course has both classroom and field training, divided in two phases. The phase one focuses more on classroom with some visits to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve; the second phase is all about practical exposure in Tiger Reserve and working with forest department staff and officers. So far I have attended only phase I and will focus on that. Some of the key elements of the course are:
• History of National parks
• Profile of Bandipur and other surrounding tiger habitat like BRT, Nagarhole and Kabini
• Understanding Mammals and Birds
• Laws governing National Parks and Sanctuaries
• Gadgets and instruments used in Tiger Census like Tiger Trap Camera etc.
• Do’s and Don’ts in the Tiger Reserve
• Reports and forms that a volunteer need to fill
• Expectations from Volunteers
• What all a forest department does
• Visit to Anti Tiger Poaching Camp
• Role and Ethics of Wildlife Photography in Conservation
Click here for all posts in Bandipur and Eco Volunteer Training program
UPDATE: Please check here for next batch of Eco Volunteer Training
I swear on my love for tigers that I will not sell, rent, gift or donate your email address 🙂