West Bengal Forest Department is offering wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to join the forest officials as they got about their conservation and wildlife management duties. Modelled along the lines of the globally popular concept of paid volunteering, participants will have to pay a fixed charge to the state forest department to undergo conservation and park management training and thereafter work in the protected areas of the state.
Called the 'Banya Prani Sathi Prakalpa' (Friend of Wildlife Trust), the project is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Participants will have to pay â‚¹15,000 for the first year and â‚¹10,000 for each of the following two years. They will receive an initial five-day training and work for 10 days with designated foresters in the first year. Medically fit residents of Bengal will be able to participate in the programme. Only one person will be selected for each protected area. The state forest department has identified four zones in the state – the Hills, Dooars, Sunderbans and urban wildlife areas – where participants can stay and work with the foresters.