I am associated with Tiger Watch (an N.G.O) since the last few years. Tiger Watch's main aim is to save the Indian Tiger and we work for Ranthambhore National Park. Tourists from all over the world throng to Ranthambhore National Park, Rajasthan to view the wildlife, flora, fauna and the majestic tiger.
But this once famous and safe home for tigers of India is fast losing its status due to poaching. A majority of the poachers belong to the Mogyas, a nomadic tribe belonging to Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh. In 2006-07, our field biologist Dr. Dharmendra traced and located several poachers belonging to the nomadic Mongya tribe. With the help of the local police, some of them have been arrested and court cases are going on.
Apart from bringing them to justice, we are trying to rehabilitate and bring up the living standards of the Mogyas residing around the Park. Our aim is to setup a community centre offering various avenues for alternate and enhanced lifestyle of this tribe and members of other under privileged communities and making them aware of the conservation problem. This is the first time in our country that such a difficult task has been set up and is the first step towards a possible solution.
During my trip to Ranthambhore in February 2007 we visited a place where three Mogya families stay and whose women have started making woven gift articles. We also met up with two ex-poachers.
Tiger Watch also recognised the efforts of Mr. Kala who assisted us in identifying and arresting the poachers.
Within the Mogya community, only the men are involved in crimes, and therefore it became important to bring the male child of the families under the education program, so that poaching in the future could be curbed. Since 2006, Tiger Watch started the Mogya Boys Education program. The objective of this program was
1. To educate the Mogya’s to enable them to earn a living in the future.
2. Creating awareness within the community.
3. Joining the community with the mainstream of society.
In the initial phase, a hostel site was leased in the Phalodi village, which is now shifted to Sawai Madhopur district head quarter. This hostel is, at present, home to 20 boys belonging to the Mogya community. Tiger Watch takes care of their accommodation, food and education. The boys attend a good school in Sawai Madhopur.
The hostel is equipped with a full-time warden, an assistant and a cook and also has facilities like a common TV room. The boys attend a day school and live at the hostel throughout weekdays, they go home on holidays. This program has been successfully running since its initiation in 2006, with 8 boys joining in the first year and 12 more joining in the second year (i.e. in 2007) of the program. As of now the number is 30...............by Sachin Rai