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Tiger Trails is now involved in a new project to help raise funds for our Tiger Trails Foundation (TTF, charity number: 1092852). One of our former clients, the artist Paul Robinson, is raising funds for the Foundation by donating a percentage of the cost of each of the tiger paintings he sells.

What makes this project particularly exciting and relevant to us is that Paul booked a three-month trip with Tiger Trails specifically to gain a real perspective on the wildlife of India within the natural habitats of the national parks, thus enabling him to depict his subject matter in an accurate and atmospheric way back home.

Many of you have expressed a wish to support TTF in future projects around Ranthambhore National Park. This is an option where as well as supporting villages around the park; you will also have the chance to own an exclusive piece of art that reflects Paul's time in India and perhaps your own.

If you have the time please find out about Paul, his work and this project please visit his website

It is now well recognised by the authorities running National Parks across the globe that policing and protection of a protected area (PA) in itself is not sufficient to ensure the survival of that reserve. It is also unethical, and in the long term counterproductive, to displace the tribal peoples who inhabit these areas under the pretext of saving the wildlife. To summarise, an expanding population, lack of environmental awareness, poverty, industry's general indifference to environmental protection and poorly planned development activities have all contributed to a decline in habitat and wildlife across the whole of India.

Human pressure on India's protected areas is visible in the collection of vegetation for both fuel and fodder, as well as grazing by the people's livestock. A common approach by park authorities is to let the core area of the park look after itself, and to concentrate their resources on protecting the buffer zone. This is the zone that forms the barrier between the park and the ravenous towns and villages on its periphery. The lack of available food for their livestock, poor quality crops and shortage of firewood force the inhabitants further into the park to exploit its natural resources. Improving the quality of the surrounding buffer zone to produce a natural barrier to invasion and exploitation therefore best protects the parks core area.

I recently returned from a trip to Ranthambhore National Park with the dual purpose of visiting our water-harvesting project in Ranwal and also obtaining feedback on the current situation in the park.

I was extremely excited about visiting Ranwal and seeing for myself the work achieved on digging out the silted lakes that constitute the village's main water supply. I arrived in the middle of May with daytime temperatures reaching 45 °C, so organised my trips in the cooler mornings and evenings. The first morning after my arrival I drove out with Vipul to Ranwal and spent some time walking around the new dam walls. The site was unrecognisable from last October, with all the gaps filled using earth dug out of the shallow lakes. The dam wall had now been raised to a level of between 10-12 feet and all the villagers were delighted with the work. I was invited to a village meeting the following morning where I was honoured by the residents of Ranwal with the presentation of a ceremonial turban. This was presented to me by the oldest man in the village and I was deeply touched by the warm happy faces all around me.

At the meeting the village head asked me if they could continue digging to improve their water catchment area further. Since we had only spent half the funds available and the village had contributed 25% toward the total cost we readily agreed. Both Vipul and I felt that it was important to complete a quality project in Ranwal so that other villages could see for themselves the benefits of working with Tiger Trails. Last October we had also hoped to start a project with the village of Parli. Unfortunately they were not willing to contribute anything towards the repairs to their 'Johad' (small dam) and therefore could not be included in our scheme. However these two villages are fairly close to each other and we are hopeful that word of mouth will lead to a future partnership involving Parli and Tiger Trails, the village contribution ensures their ownership of the project.







 Sasan Gir



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