In India we operate our own charity the Tiger Trails Foundation (registered UK charity no.1092852), 10% of company profits are donated to the foundation each year and these funds are used mainly for village projects in and around Ranthambhore National Park. We also welcome any donations and support offered by our guests and other parties. Some of the funds raised have also gone towards conservation intiatives in Canada, such as helping to buy out hunting licences in the Great Bear Rainforest through the Valhalla Widlerness Society (http://www.vws.org/index.html).
As a means of helping to protect India’s National Parks, and hence the wildlife, the ‘Tiger Trails Foundation’ aims to provide resources and support for the neighbouring tribal villages. By improving the quality of life for these communities through sustainable eco-development projects we believe that there will be reduced damage to the park buffer and core zones, and that there will be improved awareness and respect of India’s limited natural resources. In short, the only way that tigers will survive in India is by saving their forests and prey, and this can only be achieved with the trust and co-operation of the local population.
We have been working in partnership with villages around the perimeter of Ranthambhore National Park since 199 on initiatives such as water harvesting, tree plantations and childrens education. We were the first and only wildlife tour operator to work directly with a local village in this way. The projects are not ‘hidden’ schemes but are there for all our clients to see when on safari in Ranthambhore and many do take the opportunity to visit. Since April 2006 we have had a ‘wireless’ computer network set up in the village of Ranwal specifically for the children to learn basic computer skills, opening up a wider range of employment options. The network and the employment of a teacher have all been paid for by the Tiger Trails Foundation, which receives 90% of its funds from the profits of Wildlife Trails. Several students have now secured emplyment in goverment jobs after successfully completing their computer training; these students often return to their villages and thus provide incredible role models for the next generation of children - our proudest achievement.
So that the whole of these funds are used for the intended purpose Tiger Trails Foundation uses the facilities of Wildlife Trails Ltd on a no-cost basis, with administrative and management duties being undertaken by the trustees on a voluntary basis. Projects are completed using local volunteer labour from within the villages concerned, except where specialist skills are required. Ownership of projects, and any associated financial gain are held by the members of each village as a co-operative.
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