Forest & Wildlife
FODS is actively engaged in wildlife conservation in and around the Rajaji National Park. It regularly engages with various government agencies like the forest department, sensitizing them on the importance of giving due credence to environmental issues and wildlife safety. FODS efforts are centered on the ‘reduction of the man-wildlife conflict’ and weaning of marginalized villagers from encroaching upon the forest resources. The preservation and protection of elephant corridors from Corbett Park to Rajaji National Park has been a major concern with FODS and various government agencies.
FODS was involved in a project in collaboration with the Elephant Family of London, UK, to conserve the Asiatic elephant. It had undertaken studies relating to pressures made by various villages sitting on the edge of RNP that pose a major threat to the ecological balance of the park. It undertook a survey on the health and fodder availability for the elephants within the park.
The state government, in a scheme to relocate forest dwellers and nomadic tribes allocated land at Pathri for their dwellings and cattle rearing. FODS developed the school at Pathri with the help of Asha Trust,USA and ran a health centre with periodic health camps and veterinary services.
Following this new experience, FODS then adopted the poorest and most challenging village called Rasulpur as a model, and programs were implemented with the help of experts to reduce the dependency of people on the adjacent forest. This area bordering the national park was providing sustenance to the villagers, with cattle which wandered uncontrolled through the protected area, and the village women spending the day collecting firewood. The level of poverty was stark to see. Here were hundreds of people living well below the poverty line in abysmal conditions, forgotten by government and all its agencies.