A workshop on sensitizing the Media on conserving the Tiger and its habitat in Tamil Nadu was sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society - India Program and arranged by the Eco Club. PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore, from the 25 of Feb to the to the 27th of Feb.
30 selected students from Coimbatore ,Tamilnadu and Pondicherry from different colleges filled the hall at PSG College along with some very important speakers. All this was put together by Project Coordinator Mr C.R Jayaprakash, whose efficient communication skills was the reason for each member present in the hall being
The Hall hushed as the first session started .Posters designed by the participants were released and slowly an eye-opening angle to Wildlife dawned upon the students in the hall as Dr Ravi Chellam, Country Director, WCS -India addressed us on wildlife issues affecting the country. Bringing out the importance of conserving tigers he said, "Tigers are an umbrella species and protect a diversity of other wildlife species and that is one of the main reasons we need to conserve them"
After a refreshing bottle of neera, Dr Tolstoy briefed the audience with a power point presentation on the ethics, attitudes and a sensitive approach to wildlife photography and said, "look beyond postcard shots and let your picture make a impact - what is your measurable influence to help nature?" .What was also shocking was his revelation as a doctor, on how forest dwelling tribes suffer from lack of medical attention.
After a satisfying lunch there was a very funny session on how newspapers misunderstand Human-Animal Conflicts by Mr Mohammad Ali who stated that "The elephants created havoc" a line often used in newspapers whereas the fact remains that humans build houses where elephants roam.
After that we were off to Top slip, Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) and reached in time to have a "under-the-tree -sitting-in-a-circle" self introduction session followed by a screening of "The Truth About the Tigers" produced by Shekar Dattatri followed by a discussion with himon doubts regarding the documentary followed by a sumptuous dinner. All this in one day !
The next two days were filled with short treks every morning with the daytime packed with discussions ranging from documentary-making guided by Shekar Dattatri to discussing human-animal conflict issues and the present status of tiger-poaching in India by Dr Ravi Chellam, Dr Rajah Jayapal, Mr Dattari and K.Vijayanandan Wildlife Warden of Parambikualm (on one occasion) followed by a surprise visit by the Wildlife Warden of ATR himself who patiently cleared all our doubts. After three days of rigorous learning, I realized that there is a serious need to sensitise and induce tolerance and understanding of wildlife and bring in the awareness to people who live beside jungles .Time's ticking, and if we don't do something who will ?
Ps :My computer is slow so cant I send the pictures tomorrow? If you require it urgently do mail me before 3 pm