Wildwatch

Grassroot Conservationist – Mat Suraj

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Mat Suraj’s anti-poaching work in various parts of Chhattisgarh in India where wildlife is greatly threatened is changing the narrative around snares.

In 2016, during a meeting with forest department officer Alok Tiwari, IFS, he was asked if he wanted to conduct a tiger-monitoring program for the next six months.

As part of his camera trapping, he found other problems; several images of people with snares, killed animals and wildlife parts. Wanting to address this issue, he applied to Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

Mat Suraj
Mat Suraj

Now Suraj is an expert in doing anti-snare walks where he involves both local communities and forest frontline staff to search for snares placed by poachers in the suspected areas. This helps in getting rid of the snares and there is also an exchange of knowledge between locals and the forest department.

Looking ahead, Suraj plans to conduct systematic scientific studies on a few rare and endangered species that are found in the tiger reserve but are low in numbers. This includes Mouse Deer, Rusty Spotted Cat, Asian Small Clawed Otter and if required, captive breeding programs for such species can be considered.

Read the full story that first appeared in The Wildlife Watch Binocular- Fall Winter 2021 edition here:

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