The Western Ghats mountain chain, along with Sri Lanka, is one of 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.
WCS-India supports its government and non-government partners, by playing an active role in this landscape to address a number of complex conservation issues. The main goal is to ensure long-term persistence of the threatened mammalian fauna and consolidation of critical wildlife habitats in 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
Voluntary relocation is a government-sponsored program which supports willing families to voluntarily resettle outside Protected Areas. When implemented in a fair and efficient manner, it is a “Win-Win situation” and a potent tool for social upliftment of the marginalized forest dwelling communities as well aids in forest and wildlife recovery through creation of large inviolate spaces inside PAs.
We help in post-voluntary relocation support by aiding families in establishing livelihood as well as providing skill-based training. Additionally, we also provide access to quality medical help, sponsor higher education of the 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.
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 Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. Our efforts in supporting the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh government are also ongoing.
Supporting private-funded land purchase in critical wildlife habitats for consolidation of these lands with PAs:
WCS-India provides direct compensation payments to willing families and purchases their lands, finally integrating the vacated land into the PA network. So far, 137.15 acres of land have been purchased and integrated with the PA system under this initiative, benefitting 75 families.
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
Wayanad Prakruthi Samarakshana Samithi, Wayanad WLS