Citizens get in'site' into wildlife conservation

This website matters

The website’s home pageClaimed to be a first of its kind initiative in the country, the new website aims at encouraging the public to participate in wildlife conservation, as well as, document the threats to wildlife conservation.

Designed by Prakash Matada, Praveen M V, Vinayak Rao and Hari Krishnan - all members of WM, the website is accessible to the public, policy makers, the Forest Department and those interested in wildlife conservation.

Categorising important conservation threats to wildlife like poaching, fragmentation, mining, forest fires, human-wildlife conflicts and roadkills, the website is people-friendly with explanations aided by photographs.

“This enables people to understand and upload their observations in the appropriate category. The site offers an interested person to register and upload threats to protected areas in Karnataka,” explained Matada, a wildlife enthusiast and a software engineer in a private firm.

He said the site also offers options for uploading images, videos, news clippings and news links. All threats will be mapped and viewers will be able to see the spatial distribution of threats. Reports on various threats can also be generated spatially and temporally.

‘No consolidated info’

“Currently there is no consolidated information available about the serious threats to wildlife, but we are encouraging people to do their bit to wildlife. For instance people driving through highways in Bandipur or Nagarahole can look for wildlife killed by speeding vehicles and report it on the site,” said Matada.

The site also provides contact numbers of Government officials of the protected areas so that people can report the threat directly to the Forest Department. “We thought we should have better public participation in wildlife conservation. With increased number of people travelling to the Wildlife Reserves, we thought of utilising this opportunity to involve them,” he added.

Presently, the focus of the website is on the protected areas in the Western Ghats. In
the future, the team hopes to expand the focus area based on the response. There are also plans to bring out a Kannada version of the site as internet is making rapid inroads into the rural areas.

The website also allows users to download posters with wildlife messages so that they can be printed and used for their conservation education activities.

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