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Eco-vigilantes tap their roots in Kotagiri's vanishing Shola forests

Eco-vigilantes tap their roots in Kotagiri's vanishing Shola forests
Eco-vigilantes tap their roots in Kotagiri's vanishing Shola forests
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Visiting the Nilgiris in the aftermath of the recent forest fire is depressing—vast tracts have been laid waste and charred hillsides interrupt the green stretches with alarming frequency. You need every pick-me-up you can get. The Kotagiri Wildlife and Environment Association (KWEA) is just that, and it’s heartening to see how much difference this small team of dedicated people has made.

In the ’80s, three agriculturists and inveterate jungle trekkers from Kotagiri found themselves linked by their mutual dismay at the rate of deforestation in their region. Inspired by a radio talk on nature conservation, A. Bhupathi, M.K. Bhojan and J.S. Jayachandran decided to take up cudgels for their precious forestland. Says 49-year-old Bhojan: "We read all the books we could on conservation and afforestation; we wanted to do something. This was our land and we didn’t like what was happening to it."

What began in 1985 as a nature club for local children in Sackatha village near Kotagiri metamorphosed in 1988 into the KWEA, with 18 members. Today, the organisation is at the...

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