Bandipur Yuva Mitra launched to sensitise students on conservation issues

Union Minister for Environment Forests and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav flagged off the first batch of students’ safari to mark the occasion

January 03, 2023 08:32 pm | Updated 08:32 pm IST - MYSURU

Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav with government school students during the launch of Bandipur Yuva Mitra programme at Bandipur on Tueday.

Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav with government school students during the launch of Bandipur Yuva Mitra programme at Bandipur on Tueday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Forest Department has rolled out the Bandipur Yuva Mitra programme as part of its outreach programme to sensitise students from villages abutting the tiger reserve on the imperatives of conservation.

It was launched by the Union Minister for Environment Forests and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav in Bandipur, in Chamarajanagar district on Tuesday who flagged off the first batch of students’ safari to mark the occasion.

The Minister, while appreciative of the efforts, said that involvement of the local stakeholders was imperative for conservation.

The Bandipur Yuva Mitra envisages providing an opportunity for the underprivileged students to explore, understand, experience and learn about the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and its wildlife. The programme promises a learning-by-exploring approach through field visits and curriculum transactions related to forests, wildlife, forest ecosystem services and the importance of their conservation.

Ramesh Kumar, Director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve said the national park is surrounded by 136 villages within a distance of 1 km from the park boundary spread across the taluks of Gundlupet, Chamarajanagar, Nanjangud, Sargur and H.D. Kote and there existed a close relationship between the local community and the forest eco system. But the increase in conflict situation due to anthropogenic pressure has resulted in a negative park-people interface, he added. The Bandipur Yuva Mitra project will help address it.

The nature education programme to local school students will create awareness about wildlife and the real reasons behind the conflict situation and hence the students are expected to become eco-volunteers to create a positive -park-people relationship.

There are over 800 government schools and 30 colleges in the villages abutting the forest boundary and hence the scope of the project is immense, according to Mr. Ramesh Kumar.

Every year nearly 10,000 students will be given an opportunity to visit, explore and experience the forest ecosystem and a new vehicle has been procured by the authorities. Students from the adjoining village be taken for safaris and the programme will be held throughout the year free of cost.

The programme is expected to connect the stakeholders through ‘’teacher to child, child to child, child to parents, parents to community’ ’mode approach to help address conservation and forest-related issues.

There is also the involvement of the UNDP, UNEP and other donors and institutions associated with nature conservation and will help realize the Sustainable Development Goals, according to park authorities.

Director General of Forests C.P. Goyal, ADG Forests S.P.Yadav, Additional Chief Secretary Jawaid Akthar, M.Malathi Priya, Chief Conservator of Forests, Mysuru Circle and others were present.

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