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  • Writer's pictureSophie Baumgartner

News from the East

We received a new update from our partner WTI, regarding our joint project in Shergaon, India. Forgotten cats of Shergaon. and it sounds very exciting! Some very big steps have been taken since the last update.

This project has different aims, one of which is to research the mammal diversity of the Shergaon forest. For this, we can proudly announce that WTI hired a biologist. Suranjita has joined the team and will be researching the area using Felis’ camera traps. She recently underwent training and is currently working on the project in Shergaon. We have no doubt she will be a strong member of the project.

Besides Suranjita, WTI hired two people from the local community as research assistants. Together, this team is currently setting out camera traps and will analyze the data. Setting the camera traps is not easy, as the terrain is challenging to walk through. A diverse team consisting of researchers and local people should allow for a smooth and successful execution of the project. We can’t wait to receive more pictures taken with the camera traps to see the richness of the Shergaon forest.

The project's second aim is to provide alternative livelihoods to the local community so they have sustainable incomes. To achieve this, WTI is building a solid relationship with the local NGO Garung Thuk. Garung Thuk, which you might have read earlier, works for the betterment of the Shergaon community. Lobsang Tashi, from the NGO, was hired as a consultant and helped to construct a social survey that will uncover the problems the community faces, its needs, and its wishes. This is of utmost importance if we want to protect Shergaon forest and its cats in the long term. The survey will further unravel the community's socio-economic status and look at the possibilities for eco-tourism with the local people. These actions, together with hiring two research assistants, show that Felis and WTI find it very important to include the local people, as this project can only be successful if we have their support.

This project perfectly reflects our mission and values: Protecting nature with cats as an umbrella species, working with the local community in a sustainable and long-term way.

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