Western Ghats – Deciduous Forests

Holématthi: People for Conservation

Awareness for a holistic approach towards conservation and human-wildlife conflict mitigation.

Holématthi Nature Information Centre

The Holématthi Nature Information Centre (Holématthi NIC) was established in July 2018 to serve as a training and awareness centre, to host a unique interactive conservation awareness programme. Located at the edge of the Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary over an area of one acre, this quaint structure relies heavily on interactive art, visual imagery and story-telling to inspire appreciation among the locals for the rich biodiversity that surrounds them.

Awareness, the need of the hour

The wildlife in the MM Hills and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary landscape faces many anthropogenic threats including habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, wild meat consumption, over-extraction of natural resources, and wildlife-vehicular collisions. These are issues that need to be communicated with the people to promote a better understanding and help foster positive attitudes towards conservation and wildlife.

This project aims to impart wildlife and conservation awareness to communities living near forested areas, with a specific focus on students. The primary audience comprises of local residents, students from local schools and colleges, teachers, leaders, representatives of local governing bodies, media personnel from the region and the forest department staff.

Our focus

Prevailing socio-economic conditions, restricted access to resources due to remoteness, superstition, and lack of awareness about wildlife and potential alternatives - all contribute towards the problems being faced by wildlife and people alike.

Sessions at Holématthi are centred around the belief that sustainable co-existence can be achieved between forest-fringe communities and wildlife if these threats can be minimised through provisioning of alternatives, conservation awareness and public-engagement.

With students and children being the leaders of tomorrow, the project maintains a sharp focus on imparting conservation awareness and wildlife education to ensure a holistic and sustained approach to conservation, to bring a shift in people's perceptions and instil a sense of ownership and responsibility for their land and its preservation.

The initiative

We deliver messages about wildlife and their ecology, behaviour, the landscape, ill effects of poaching and bushmeat consumption, and alternative resources using a wide combination of methodologies such as street plays, nature camps, workshops, visual imagery, documentary screenings, and interactive games and training modules.

Holématthi often hosts workshops for Karnataka Forest Department staff, media personnel, members of gram panchayats, and others to undergo training programmes regarding the wildlife, wildlife laws and the ecology of the region.

To date, Holématthi has hosted over 8,700 visitors of which more than 5,000 have been students, contributing significantly towards our efforts to engage with students and spark curiosity in their young minds.

Looking ahead