The Mission: The conservation related work is based purely on needs which I (Sunita Dhairyam) felt were necessary and critical to the welfare of wildlife and to the local communities which live around wildlife areas (where I too live). I also chose involvement in areas that I felt I could deal with in my personal capacity and functioning through the small Charitable Trust that I set up. This was not based on any scientific research and I consequently did not give thought to research or publicity. It was only last year that a colleague of mine pointed out the need to document what work I had done and assess what impact it had on conservation. It was with this purpose that I collaborated with a friend of mine to analyze the data we had gathered on cattle kills by large carnivores (tigers/leopards) in the villages where I was implementing the compensation scheme for cattle kills. We choose to analyze the cattle kill compensation aspect of my charity as it has a direct impact on conservation. People who are not compensated when their cattle are killed by large carnivores tend to poison the kills and thus pose a very direct threat to large carnivore conservation. Compensation helps avoid this problem. The Trust was formed to help and work with local communities for wild life conservation at a ground and grass roots level. The location of the Trust is critical as it is situated along the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the Niligiri Biosphere. This is an area that has the highest densities of wild tigers in the world as well as being the last strong hold of the Asian Elephant and all our Asiatic species. The importance of working with the local communities for the survival of our forests and wild life is of extreme importance. This work we do is also now being done by us in the Mudumulai Tiger Reserve in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. We pay for the education of bright young children, both for school and collage. ABC (Animal Birth Control) is also carried on in the villages by our Trust. This helps in reducing the spread of disease into the neighbouring wild life including rabies. We have started working with the indigenous Tribes - The Jenu Kurubas, traditional honey gatherers and forest dwellers. We have issued them honey boxes for bee keeping, so they can do their traditional honey gathering in their hamlets therefore enabling them to some sort of basic income. This is in indirect way of reducing the pressure of the forest. Since we have a free clinic, we treat underprivileged local villagers and Tribals and look after their chronic illnesses. All the work we do has a positive impact of the Tiger Reserve. Our future plans are many. To provide solar powered electric fence units to farmers on the border areas to stop the electrocution of Elephants. To be able to contribute to the eradication of Lantana(an invasive species of scrub) that has invaded our forests reducing the growth of grass. This is one of the factors for our man/elephant conflict in these areas.
Art for ConservationTM Commitment Goal:
Mariamma Charitable Trust has been indicated by AFC members as a potential recipient of donations by participating artists. AFC's Art for ConservationTM program, provides a forum to promote artwork that benefits recognized conservation organizations such as Mariamma Charitable Trust.
AFC members have voluntarily and independently earmarked a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their artwork to Mariamma Charitable Trust. AFC's Art for ConservationTM program provides a forum to help promote artwork for sale that includes such a commitment. Each artists's commitment is contingent on the sale of their work and the above estimate is a potential total based on the completion of sale of any original work and/or limited editions. The AFC is not involved in any way with artwork sales transactions, nor does it make any guarantees relating to artist commitments. The AFC takes no commission whatsoever from the sale of artwork under the Art for ConservationTM program, unless explicitly indicated.
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