Scratch’s Award for Volunteer Excellence, the SAVE Award
For outstanding volunteer service, the June SAVE Award goes to Erin Carden! Erin has been super helpful by coming in every week to help with projects in the brutal heat. She also makes sure that there are always plenty of cicles made for the cats to enjoy each afternoon. Thank you so much for your hard work. The cats really appreciate it!
n honor of Erin a $1,000 donation was made to the Wildlife Trust of India/IFAW to save tigers!
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) initiated the Guardians of the Wild Project in 2001, with the goal of assisting the government in creating a strong, well-equipped and motivated force of frontline rangers, to curb poaching and habitat degradation in key tiger habitats.
As few as 3,000 tigers survive in the wild. The few tigers that do remain live in vast inaccessible forests protected by forest and park rangers who often lack proper training and equipment, and who are outmanned and outgunned by gangs of poachers seeking to kill wild tigers and sell their skins and parts on the black market. Being a park ranger in India, Nepal or Bhutan is not the same as being a park ranger in the USA, where field staff have the training and equipment they need to survive and accomplish their missions, and help is just a phone call away.
Dense swamps, marshlands, thick tropical forests, vast savannahs, and the world’s highest mountain peaks form impenetrable barriers that make resupply and rescue virtually impossible. Rangers on the front lines in South Asia risk serious injury and their lives from road accidents, animal attacks or conflicts, disease outbreaks, attacks by insurgent groups, drowning, and a host of other menaces. And, there’s the constant threat from poachers. Well armed and motivated, poaching gangs roam the vast, often times roadless landscape, taking a variety of animals with them as they seek the ultimate payoff – a wild tiger. In recent years, criminals have upgraded their techniques and equipment, making it even more difficult for the under-equipped forest staff to curb illegal activities. To date 110 wildlife rangers have been killed in the line of duty, while 10 have been seriously injured or disabled.
The Guardians of the wild project has a multi-pronged strategy abbreviated as TEAM, which stands for Training, Equipment, Awareness and Morale Boosting. In Collaboration with India’s state forest department, the project provides rangers with in-depth training in the basics of investigation, preparing and filing legal cases against offenders, current threats to wildlife and human- wildlife conflicts, and crime prevention techniques. Upon successful completion of the program, personnel are given kits to help them in field work. The kits are assembled based on the needs of the field work area. Since the project was introduced, over 16,000 forest personnel have been trained and equipped, in more than 150 protected areas across India. Because of its success, the governments of Bhutan and Nepal have requested the assistance of the project in their own countries, where rampant poaching threatens tiger survival. In the areas where Guardians of the Wild project has been introduced, many wildlife populations have increasedand wildlife crimes have decreased.