Satish gained the award for his contribution to marine conservation at the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park and Palk Bay area
Ramanathapuram Forest Range Officer S Sathish’s fascination for woods began at a younger age. “My home is at Thalavadi, which is close to the Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary in Erode. As a child, I enjoyed sighting wild animals. I also had plenty of opportunities to interact with forest officials. By the time I completed my schooling, I was sure that I wanted to work in the forest,” says Sathish, who graduated from the Forest College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam.
The 35-year-old is now in the information for winning the International Ranger Award 2021, issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Switzerland, World Commission on Protected Areas, International Ranger Federation and Global Wildlife Conservation and Conservation Allies, for his work in marine conservation at the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park and Palk Bay area. “It is awarded to 10 officials across the world. This is the first edition of the award and I am honoured to be selected from 600 entries from 100 countries.” Other than Sathish, Mahindra Giri, a spread officer from Rajaji Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand, has additionally gained it from India.
Satish began his work at the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park 4 years in the past and has been concerned in rising 100 acres of mangrove forest and sustaining one other 100 acres in the Palk Bay area. “Mangroves help to maintaining the water quality in the area by filtering the sediments and other pollutants through its roots. It also helps to reduce the effect of cyclones and other natural disasters. Now, the area is home to hundreds of birds such as sandpipers, grey herons, kingfishers, black-winged stilts and common greenshanks.”
He can be a part of the nationwide park’s scuba diving group. Explains Satish, “This is the only such team that belongs to the Forest Department in India. It was set up in 2017 under the guidance of the Wildlife Warden. We received seven days of training and now go under the sea once a month to assess and maintain the coral reef, sea grass and also to clean the coastal areas.”
One of the issues nonetheless confronted by the division is the unlawful poaching and killing of untamed animals. “Migratory birds, turtles, sea cows, sea cucumbers, etc fall prey to it. Since 2017, I have booked around 110 cases under this. Taking strict action has helped bring down the number of such offences over the years.”
The prize entails a uniform patch and a money prize of $10,000 for the Forest Department to help his works there. Sathish was nominated by Okay Sivakumar, a senior scientist from Wildlife Institute of India, for this award. “I have worked with him (Sivakumar) on several projects and I had the confidence to win this award,” he concludes.
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