By Prasanna Mukherji & Krishnendu Mukherjee
KOLKATA, India — Wildlife seems to have become the corporate buzzword. Either as part of their CSR activities or out of a genuine concern for environment , business houses are doing their bit to protect the ecosystem.
While Nokia has taken up the conservation of Nilgiri Tahr, Tata Chemicals is lending its voice for saving whale sharks and Gir lions. Sea turtle conservation, too, has found support from HSBC and Turtle Ltd.
"Corporate involvement is a very positive thing, but as long as their concern is genuine ," says Belinda Wright, executive director of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).
Funded by Tata Chemicals with a corpus of Rs 2 crore, the whale shark conservation campaign in Gujarat succeeded in saving 187 whale sharks till 2009. "We, along with WTI and National Institute of Oceanography, signed an MOU with the Gujarat forest department in 2008 for research on whale sharks and coral reef," says a Tata Chemicals spokesperson . The company had also built 1,000 parapet walls around wells in Gir as part of the lion conservation project of the Gujarat government, the spokesperson said.
According to Wright, HSBC provides Rs 4 lakh per year for Operation Kachhapa to spread awareness about the conservation of the sea turtle, a project by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) and Wildlife Society of Orissa. "Our campaign with HSBC includes setting up of local turtle clubs, lobbying for strict enforcement of fishing laws, monitoring unsustainable fishing activities and spreading awareness," says Wright.
Biswajit Mohanty, a prominent wildlife activist in Orissa, says: "A scientific turtle conservation policy has to be put in place. The Indian Oil Corporation had given Rs 1 crore to the government in 2000 for this. The government is spending it since 2004 (along with) some central funds as well. On an average, they spend Rs 20-30 lakh every year on turtle conservation ." According to Mohanty , Turtle, a manufacturer of branded apparel, provides funds to help in conservation of Olive Ridleys.
"We receive Rs 5 lakh every year from the company," he says. Amit Ladsaria, director , Turtle Ltd.