Addressing Wildlife Emergencies in India through Rapid Action Projects (RAP)

Timeframe: 2019-2020 // 2021-2022
Country/Region: India
Partner: Wildlife Trust of India

As the Indian population crosses a billion and the country struggles to meet the developmental needs of its rapidly growing human population, its wildlife today is under severe stress. Vast forestlands that provided refuge to a variety of animals and birds have drastically disappeared. India is also witnessing growing cases of human-animal conflict along with a rise in poaching and timber smuggling.

With India’s thrust of being an economic powerhouse, a number of developmental programs are being launched at a nationwide level often coming in close proximity to some of the threatened habitats, disregarding the ecological values of the wildlife. As a result, natural calamities have intensified with floods, forest fires and cyclones being a common occurrence nowadays. The government in India mostly prioritises conservation actions on flagships species like tiger, elephant or rhino and might not be geared for quick reaction to conservation emergencies and in most cases does not have ready funds. Therefore, they can’t provide relevant resources to deal with issues related to the lesser known species.

To provide a solution to this problem, our partner, Wildlife Trust of India has been running a special outreach program called “Rapid Action Project (RAP)” which aims to provide short term, focused and innovative aid at times of emergencies and conservation issues. These outreach projects are implemented through organisations, government agencies and community stakeholders across India. These are short projects of duration, preferably not more than one year with budgets focused only on addressing a particular threat. Funds are kept ready in hand to meet wildlife conservation needs in the field as and where required.

The first phase of the project provided small grants to 22 RAPs implemented in 12 states and 1 union territory across India and addressing different wildlife conservation emergencies. Following the successful results of this first phase, Fondation Segré renewed its contribution to the Wildlife Trust of India in 2021. It is expected this additional support will allow the organization to address an additional number of emerging wildlife threats across the whole country where and when most needed.