We had a wonderful week in Kaziranga and as always years 9& 10 were fun and stimulating company for the teachers. All who met them were impressed by their intelligence, good manners and enthusiastic participation in all activities and their engagement in the learning process.
Kaziranga is a truly magical place – possibly the best reserve for large mammals outside of Africa, and whilst the mighty tigers remained unseen in the towering elephant grass, the other incredibly rare large mammals: rhinos, wild water buffalo, wild elephant and swamp deer generously showed themselves as did many fine birds such as eagles, storks and pelicans. I am sure many of you have enjoyed seeing the photos taken and to get an even better view, watch our photo montage on you tube:
The theme of the week was unsurprisingly conservation of our natural heritage and we undertook a range of activities alongside the safaris around the reserve, to better understand that effective conservation of b
iodiversity is a multi-faceted and complex issue that requires the involvement of many players and the engagement of all stake-holders. To this end, we looked at species conservation through the amazing efforts of the Pygmy Hog Breeding programme in Guwahati, the rescue and rehabilitation of animals by the Wildlife Trust of India and had talks from brave forest guards on the front line against poachers and the WWF who work to protect animals in their historic routes in and out of the reserves. Much was learnt about the need to help communities benefit from the reserve and tourism and how to diversify their economic options so that animal-human conflicts become less serious and the lure of poaching less appealing or socially acceptable. A key part of this was working at Village Weaves – where women are trained to use their weaving skills in more commercially valuable ways to aid their empowerment. At the request of the proprietor of this cooperative: Roop Jyoti, students worked to help her develop and market products that will make her more commercially successful, aiding more women to be brought into this programme and to enable more of them to earn money from the tourism the wildlife brings to the area. This will further incentivise its preservation.
Finally all good trips must have their truly magical moments. For most students and teachers, these were the sunrise elephant safari and feeding the hungry baby elephants bananas at the end of the working day. Unforgettable!