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Heroes of Save Our Tigers Campaign

Panchanan Nayak an Elephant Tracker and Daily Wage Worker from Athgarh Forest Division, Odisha: The Athgarh Forest Division has one of the worst human-elephant conflict afflicted landscapes in India, with about 150 elephants struggling to survive in a heavily human-altered landscape. Mob situations cause elephants to sometimes kill or injure, resulting in elephant fatalities. In this battleground, about 50 locals have been recruited on a daily wage basis by the forest department to work as conflict control teams.

Panchanan Nayak, or Panchu, as he is affectionately called, heads the squad in the Athgarh range. The squad ensures that there are no hurdles across their path, traffic and crowds are halted and the elephants are 'guided' so they can cross safely. What makes it worth it for him and his team is that their elephants, whom they love and live for, have survived one more day without any drastic incident. We salute the spirit of the Elephant Trackers/Forest Watchers/Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Squads of Athgarh and their representative Panchanan Nayak.

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