India: Wildlife SOS
The Wildlife Land Trust is delighted to announce that eight sanctuaries have been added to the WLT global network, thanks to our ongoing partnership with Wildlife SOS of India. HSI/WLT have had a long association with Wildlife SOS, funding various wildlife protection and rehabilitation programs since 2005.
Wildlife SOS is committed to conserving biological diversity throughout India. They manage a number of sanctuaries across the country for the rehabilitation and care of rescued wildlife, as well as for the protection of native habitat under threat. Their flagship conservation activities, based around sloth bears, leopards, elephants, and many other Indian wildlife species, underpins their system of sanctuaries, which also contain a wealth of wild species.Wildlife SOS is committed to protecting these sanctuary areas for their intrinsic conservation values. This and other hands-on conservation work is complemented by a range of education and anti-poaching initiatives across the country, all proactively enhancing the protection and long-term ecological sustainability of India's wildlife and wild places.
The eight sanctuaries total some 1,276.5 acres, including an arrangement at Karnataka where a further 2000 acres are protected. A number of these sanctuaries are located within or adjacent to other large wildlife sanctuaries or National Parks, thus helping to extend protection for vital natural habitats in the region. These sanctuaries and their attendant programs have been undertaken in full cooperation with the Forestry Departments from Maharastra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Haryana. A brief introduction to each of the new WLT member sanctuaries follows:
The Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre in Bangalore, Karnataka, is a 43.5 acre naturally rocky refuge with scattered large ponds. It provides spacious socialisation pens for rescued bears (sloth bears) that lead into large free ranging spaces.
The Van Vihar Bear Rescue Centre in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh is located in the Van Vihar National Park (1099.6 acres) in Central India and now cares for an increasing number of bears on 20 acres.
The Agra Bear Rescue Facility features ideal native bear habitat (160 acres) situated inside theSur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary", Keetham (1761.8 acres), near Agra city, with large socialisation enclosures ensuring the bears interact with one other.
The Purulia Bear Rescue Facility in West Bengal provides care for many bears on 10 acres ofprotected forest land.
The Elephant Rehabilitation and Research Centre is located on 1000 acres in the Ban Santoor Forest Block, adjacent to the lush rainforests of the Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary (24710.5 acres).
The Karnataka Sloth Bear Rescue and Conservation Centre sits on the Deccan Plateau of South India where the rocky outcrops, caves and enormous boulders are some of the oldest in the world. It is one of the few areas in India with a rich wild bear population, and is also home to leopards, hyenas, pangolins, black bucks, wild boars, civet cats and porcupines. A teeming & rich bird life is supported by the picturesque "Thungabhadra" river that also abounds in crocodiles. This area is severely under threat from illegal mining, quarrying, organised ritual hunting and also rapid deforestation. Wildlife SOS is therefore acquiring private land in this area to protect it and allow it to return to its original wild state, thus conserving wildlife and the ecosystem. Wildlife SOS currently owns a 33 acre area allowing it to protect a further and surrounding 2000 acres of habitat area.
The Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre at Maharashtra was established to rescue and rehabilitate leopards that have been caught and held because of conflict with local villagers and authorities. Those animals that are fit and able enough are released back into the wild whenever possible. The centre is set in 10 acres of protected forest.
The Gurgaon Wildlife Rescue Shelter, set also in 10 acres of protected forest is where over 3000 birds, reptiles and small mammals are rehabilitated each year following rescue from the meat and illegal wildlife trade, organophosphate poisoning, and poaching. All rescued animals are released back into the wild following their full recovery.