At the end of April, the pandemic became an emerging crisis across India. In central India, rural communities already experiencing health and socioeconomic disparities were hit hard by the economic repercussions of work restrictions to daily wage jobs that they depend on.
The Last Wilderness Foundation, an Indian-based Non-Governmental Organization, works with communities, who are largely Indigenous, around Panna, Bandhavgarh, and Kanha Tiger Reserves in central India. As the crisis in India expanded, they mobilized their team to provide essential items to communities such as food and face masks. We knew we had to help. In an impromptu fashion, Sarika asked her social media followers to donate to the cause.
In less than a week, US donors gave over $3,000 to help support the Last Wilderness Foundation's (LWF) work to aid communities during the covid-19 crisis. On May 8th, Sarika and Bhavna Menon, a Program Manager at LWF, spoke on Instagram Live about the impact of those donations and why supporting communities and working with people is helping wildlife. Watch the conversation at this link.
One of the most memorable parts of the conversation was when Bhavna said that people in these communities were not so scared of dying of the virus; they were scared of starvation.
Please keep India in your heart and mind during this difficult time.
Bi-monthly updates from the Wild Tiger team with occasional guest blog posts and personal field updates from Sarika Khanwilkar.