E. Manoj

Nearly 1,600 wildlife enthusiasts have participated in the programme which will conclude in February.

KALPETTA: A nature study camp programme being organised in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary by the Wildlife Department to create awareness on the significance of forest conservation is getting popular among wildlife enthusiasts in the State.

The programme was started in November, and so far 43 camps were conducted. Nearly 1,600 wildlife enthusiasts, including students and members of nature clubs in the State, participated in the camps.

The department is providing free boarding and lodging. It spends nearly Rs.7,000 for each camp. The programme will come to a close by the middle of February.

“We are targeting 65 nature study camps in this financial year, and bookings for the camps till January-end are over. We have developed a schedule for the participants,” a forest official said.

For students, three-day camps have been arranged at Muthanga, Chethalayam and Tholpetty centres of the wildlife sanctuary. The camp includes classes by resources persons and forest officials with power-point presentation on various environmental issues such as global warming and its impacts, the importance of conserving the forest and wildlife, the rare and endangered species of flora and fauna inside the sanctuary, the significance of soil moisture conservation and the need to protect the Neelgiri Biosphere.

A 20-km trek through the forest is the highlight of the camp. Each trekking group is accompanied by trackers and forest personnel.

Apart from the classes, activity-oriented programmes like bird watching, cleaning the environment and quiz are also conducted for the camp mates.

“We enjoyed the camp very well and it was really educative and informative for us,” said B. Savinlal, a final year B.A. student of the Malabar Christian College, Kozhikode.

Savinlal and 30 students of his college attended the study camp as part of a National Service Scheme (NSS) programme recently.

“We could sight vultures and different wild animals during our trekking” said Princy, a B.Sc. student.