...to start conservation programme
World Wide Fund for Nature, India, is planning to commission an otter conservation programme in the National Chambal Sanctuary.
Speaking to The Pioneer, WWF-India secretary general Ravi Singh said that the otter conservation programme would be in addition to the gharial and riverine dolphin conservation programmes being executed by the WWF in the National Chambal Sanctuary.
Elaborating on the activities of the WWF in Madhya Pradesh, Singh - on a visit to the city to attend a seminar on environment protection - said that the otter conservation programme was the need of the hour as the mammal is facing a severe threat in the Chambal.
He said that otter skins are prized all over the world , thus making the smooth coated otter a target of poaching. Illegal sand mining in the Chambal has also contributed to enhancing the threat to the species.
Associated with the banking industry for three decades, Ravi Singh joined WWF India in 2003. He said that WWF India was supporting tiger conservation in the state through the Satpura Maikal Landscape programme.
The Satpura Maikal Landscape programme is one of the five programmes being executed by the WWF in the country.
Under the programme, a field site is operated in Mandla district where inhabitants of about 15 villages are sensitised towards conservation.
The WWF also operates an income generation programme that aims to reduce the dependence of the villagers on forests.
Singh also said that the Gharial conservation programme being implemented in the National Chambal Sanctuary with
the help of the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and the Jiwaji Rao University would also be strengthened.
On the support extended by the WWF to Madhya Pradesh vis-à-vis other states, Singh said that the state has a bank of bright forest officers and is also well endowed with forests and wildlife.
"However, resources in Madhya Pradesh like other states are also facing population pressure which is taking a toll on the environment," he said.