M Suraj

Conservation Hero Grant 2020

Project Name:

Anti-snare walks in Protected Areas of Chhattisgarh to curb poaching

Project Brief:

A mechanical engineer by training, M Suraj has been working towards preserving natural habitats for over a decade now, in his home state of Chhattisgarh.

His study area is Udanti Sitanadi Tiger Reserve; Gariyaband, Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Baloda Bazar and the corridor connecting both these Protected Areas. The landscape, while rich in biodiversity, is still largely unexplored due to the heavy political unrest in this region.This landscape is an important corridor with respect to both Bengal Tigers and Asiatic Elephants along with home to some very elusive creatures like Indian Mouse Deer and Indian Pangolin. It is the only habitat where last remaining population of Wild Asiatic Buffalos is found. Udanti and Sitanadi Sanctuary were also declared Key Biodiversity Areas by IUCN and is the home to 32 mammalian species, 40 reptilian species, 179 avian species.

There is a high level of hunting and poaching in the region, and previous scientific studies have shown evidence of widespread snaring activities ongoing in the area as well as a steep decline in faunal population. M Suraj aims to work with local communities to sensitise them about reducing poaching while creating awareness for wildlife conservation. This includes conducting anti-snare walks, and working with local communities and forest department.

Project objectives:
  • To sensitise local tribes on minimising their poaching activities, and create awareness for wildlife conservation.
  • Training and capacity building of frontline staff and selected individuals from local communities on anti-poaching activities.
  • To conduct anti-snare walks and mapping of hunting zones that are more prone to animal trapping in study area.
  • Strengthening cooperation between forest department and local villagers through motivation building activities.