Pune : A walk amidst nature perhaps would be more luxurious with a guided trail. Stepping in this direction, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in collaboration with Botanical Survey of India (BSI) is soon set to offer a short-term course on becoming a nature guide. The programme’s aim is to engage the youth, especially from rural areas and provide employment.
The three-month programme could be extended to six months for specializing to becoming para-taxonomists.
VD Hegde, scientist at the ZSI, said, “The course is being offered as part of the National Skill Development programme. It will not only have theoretical elements, but will also cover on field and laboratory aspects. The advanced taxonomy will allow for better identification of species.”
The participants will receive certification on completion of the course, syllabus for which is being developed currently. The programme is scheduled to start by the end of May.
J Jayanthi, a scientist with the BSI shared that the first training programme will be conducted on a pilot basis and will comprise studies on flora and fauna.
“On field, we have often found that those belonging to tribal community have a better knowledge of the local species, and with the knowledge repository they ought to be given equal opportunity,” she said.
With eco-tourism increasing and jobs being generated by the sector, it makes sense to improve the knowledge base of youth who are passionate about nature. They could secure employment at sanctuaries and national parks, while visitors would benefit from information.
“Taxonomy would benefit the participants to identify invasive species in protected areas so that corrective measures can be taken up,” Jayanthi added.
Lauding the development, Anirudh Chaoji, a naturalist who has been training locals in collaboration with the forest department, said, “Both the institutes have a long history and this development is interesting. The certification will be beneficial for those who want to make a career with nature in the tow. The participants will gain from authentic information and the best syllabus. Since the market (ecotourism) is growing, it is a well-timed decision as the demand is huge for guides whose knowledge is technically sound and validated.”
The information and knowledge of the guides will be better than the several guides that have mushroomed and are found across various wildlife related tourist spots but do not have adequate information, authenticity of which is questionable, he added.
Virendra Chitrav, environmentalist and festival director of the Kirloskar Vasundhra International Film Festival, said, “There are several citizens and non-governmental organizations that are knowledgeable about species in their areas, and an initiative like this will help in restoring the rare and valuable information. This programme can aid in data collection of flora and fauna that are on the verge of extinction, and keep intact interesting facets of species that are fast vanishing.”
Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.