Wild World India spends part of its earnings and a greater share of its time and effort in maintaining certain community-led projects - namely the Mahseer Sportfishing and Conservation project at Corbett Ramganga and Home-stays around various wildlife preserves.
Jim Corbett, renowned tiger-hunter turned conservationist was also a keen angler. The vivid description of his fishing exploits in Ramganga valley finds mention in his tale 'The fish of my dreams'. Inspired by the need to protect this pristine habitat, we acquired land by the Ramganga at the very edge of Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal. This Himalayan state is the most vital catchment area for almost every significant river of Northern India, including the Ganges and Yamuna. Despite so many rivers, illegal fishing, over-population, construction of dams and use of pesticides had led to severe depletion of fish in species, size and numbers.
The Mahseer, which is the top predator of the Himalayan rivers, is the apex species and the primary health indicator of the river. But unlike tigers and elephants, protecting fish was difficult since it's not considered 'wildlife', nor is the Mahseer a protected species under the Indian Wildlife Act. To the riverine communities, fish are a source of protein so the challenge of motivating locals to make them the immediate custodians of the river was immense.
The State Government of Uttaranchal took the unprecedented step of issuing management rights to fishing associations to patrol and manage beats on the Ramganga. We realized that it is impossible to ignore local communities if one needs to safeguard endangered life forms. With the help of locals, we cleared the degraded landscape choked with lantana, stopped poaching through stringent patrolling and maintained sanctuary pools. Thanks to the community involvement the last few years saw a dramatic increase in both the size and quantity of fish and riverine eco-system. We then developed the forest trail and built four cottages to improve the local infrastructure.
A stretch of almost 24 km of the Ramganga upstream of the Corbett Park was maintained exclusively for sportfishing, which was as per Catch & Release. Apart from generating employment, we conducted fishing guide training programs for the locals, who were made the direct stakeholders of the venture. At Wild World India, we sincerely believe that to bring about a positive change economic gains are vital; we therefore contribute 5% of our turnover with our immediate neighbours the villages of Chimpani and Baluli. An additional 60% of the rod fees goes directly to them. All our camp attendants and ghillies too come from the area.
Our Mahseer Sportfishing and Conservation Project on the Western Ramganga has been lauded as a blueprint for similar conservation models in the Himalayas. Over the past few years, Vanghat River Lodge has hosted anglers from across the globe who have unanimously rated it as the best fishing beat in North India.
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Wild World India's home-stays offer you a chance to stay in local village homes situated in remote Himalayan wilderness and pristine areas close to protected nature reserves. Your hosts are the local inhabitants, with their unobtrusive gracious hospitality and first-hand experiences of how they peacefully co-exist with wildlife in the present environment. This community-based tourism initiative gives you a memorable, insightful and cost-effective experience and also generates direct benefits for the local communities, helping them protect their cultural and natural heritage for future generations.
Villages settled close to national parks and reserves suffer unavoidable income losses from livestock depredation and agricultural losses due to wild herbivores and predators. Home-stays are a good way to offset this loss and generate additional income for locals. Through their participation we help create sustainable economic alternatives as opposed to natural resource exploitation and retributive killings.
The local people also serve as guides and take you on wildlife viewing and village walks. You stay in clean comfortable but simple dwellings with solar or candle light. Traditional meals are cooked hygienically by eco-friendly methods, with training imparted by organizations like Mountain Institute, Wildlife Institute of India and Snow Leopard Conservancy.
Ladakh - In Ladakh's Hemis High Altitude National Park you stay in pastoral villages like Rubak, Kaya, Sku, Shingo, Urutse and Chilling. Hemis is India 's best-protected area for Snow Leopards and a stay involves trekking through scenic Himalayan terrain. Your hosts are the local Buddhists and you get to experience their simple way of life.
Spiti - Often called Little Tibet because of its isolation and the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, Spiti once formed the Tethys Sea, which separated India from the rest of Asia. Here you climb high above the left bank of the Spiti river to remote rural homestays. At Langza, discover million year old ammonites at the fossil sanctuary, ride a yak to Demul, climb to Asia's highest inhabited village at Komic and visit the old capital at Dhankar.
Sikkim - Nestled between North East India and Nepal, our home-stays in Dzongu district of Sikkim offer a peek into the area's rich endemic flora and fauna. Hosted by the local Lepcha tribes, you stay in the vicinity of the Kangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, which offers panoramic views of Mt Kangchendzonga, the third highest peak in the world.
Uttaranchal - Located on the periphery of the Corbett Tiger Reserve, our home-stay at Bhakrakot is surrounded by tropical broadleaf forest and is very rich in game density. You can also stay around Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary as both these areas offer a truly wild experience full of a larm calls, evidence of big cat scat and pugmarks. Your hosts are the extremely warm mountain people, the Kumaonis and Garhwalis.
Coorg - In Coorg, South India 's region known for its fragile ecological biodiversity, we offer farm-stays in rainforests. You stay inside plantations where crops like cardamom, coffee, pepper and vanilla are grown organically under the shade of rainforest trees. You have a choice between premium organic farms like Mojo Rainforest Retreat and Golden Mist Plantations or earthy farm-stays around Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Nagarahole National Park and Thadiyendamol, the highest peak in Coorg.
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