The Western Ghats mountain chain is one among the 36 global biodiversity hotspots supporting significant biodiversity and endemicity, particularly among vascular plants, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. This chain of mountains spans 140,000 sq. km, traversing the Indian states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
Bhadra landscape inWestern Ghats Landscape
WCS-India supports its government and non-government partners by playing an active role in this landscape to address several complex conservation issues. The main goal is to ensure the long-term persistence of the threatened mammalian fauna and consolidation of critical wildlife habitats in the Western Ghats, while aiding in positive socio-economic outcomes for the marginalized forest-dwelling communities living within or around these critical wildlife habitats.
Facilitating the Government-sponsored voluntary relocation program
Crop yield at Sollepura Resettlement
Voluntary relocation is a government-funded program which supports willing families to voluntarily resettle outside the Protected Areas. When implemented fairly and efficiently, it is a “Win-Win situation” and a potent tool for social upliftment of the marginalized forest-dwelling communities. It also aids in forest and wildlife recovery by creating large inviolate spaces inside PAs.
Happy farmer at Shettihalli Resettlement
We help in post-voluntary relocation support by aiding families in establishing livelihood as well as providing skill-based training. Additionally, we provide access to quality medical help, sponsor higher education of many tribal students, empower these communities by supporting self-help groups as well as access other government schemes that will help in livelihood, educational and other social security support.
Beneficiaries of the Government sponsored voluntary relocation programme in their new house outside the PA in Wayanad
For two decades, we have been actively supporting many voluntarily resettled families from various protected areas in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. We have expanded our efforts by supporting the government implemented voluntary relocation in the Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra that is being implemented by the Government of Maharashtra. Our efforts in supporting the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh government are also ongoing.
Bharati, the first female member of Gram Panchayat in Sollepura
Supporting private-funded land purchase in critical wildlife habitats for consolidation of these lands with PAs:
Gaur herd seen in the purchased land after voluntary relocation in Bhagawathi
WCS-India facilitates purchase of lands within the PAs for families who want to voluntarily relocate outside the PA. The land thus purchased is handed over to the Forest Department and the Forest Department notifies and integrates it into the existing PA system.
Shettihalli Girijana Gramabivriddhi Samithi- Shettihalli, Nagarahole NP
Hebballa Girijana Punaravasathi Samithi-Hebballa, Nagarahole NP
Masthigudi Adivasi Gramabivriddhi Samithi- Masthigudi , Nagarahole NP
Shri Veereshwara Grama Punarvasathi Samathi, Chengadi, Male Mahadeshwara WLS