Conservation

  • The Community

    We at Vanghat believe that a holistic approach is vital when it comes to sustainability and conservation. Community involvement on all levels of our work is one of the keystones to our efforts in regenerating and protecting the wilderness and wildlife directly around the lodge as well as farther afield.

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  • Our team members are all from the local area. Who else would be better to guide walks than someone who has grown up here? Building work on the property was undertaken by local craftsmen using traditional methods, such as the mud and thatch guest cottages, or the stone lodge buildings constructed, using the age- old skill of hill masons, with riverine stones bounded expertly with clay.

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  • Since 2004 we have partaken in a scheme as part of a tripartite agreement between the Corbett Tiger Reserve and the Uttarakhand Forestry Department, the eco-development committees of the villages along the river, and of course the villagers themselves, to bring an end to the destructive fishing methods that had been increasing in the area, devastating the river upstream from Jim Corbett National Park. The agreement assigned previously non-existent angling rights over 24km of the Ramganga River to a selection of private entrepreneurs, including Vanghat.

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  • This provides direct financial and employment benefits to the communities living alongside the river from catch-and-release fishing of the Golden Mahseer, a species which has seen an incredible comeback directly in response to this scheme. Otters, wider indicators of a healthy fish-life, are now regularly sighted even in upstream areas close to habitation. Rarities such as the Lesser and Pallass’s Fish Eagle are regularly sighted, replaced in the twilight hours by giant owls such as Brown and Tawny Fish Owls.

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  • Dialogue is also a very important in our ongoing relationship with the local community. Vanghat continues to host meetings to discuss and debate issues, and workshops on subjects varying from conservation of riverine ecology, children's days, or sharing camera trap images obtained from our ongoing species-richness programme. We are also in the process of creating village tours for our guests at Vanghat, allowing an insight into the lives of the warm communities in the hills.

The Research

Despite the lodge's limited resources, Vanghat is proud to support a number of conservation initiatives and research both from the lodge itself and in the surrounding area. From Vanghat, we are conducting an ongoing species-richness programme, a research project undertaken by volunteers primarily through the use of camera traps, to discover and record the myriad of wildlife that exists in our immediate vicinity. Results so far have been extremely rewarding and encouraging, with tigers, leopards, sloth bear, elephants and sambar deer captured on volunteers' cameras, along with more unfamiliar species such as pangolin, leopard cat and Himalayan Black Bear.

The lodge has also been the main support for the Society for Mahseer Conservancy, an Uttarakhand-based, not-for-profit conservation organization set up to address grassroots conservation issues specific to wildlife and community-based interests of the region. In partnership with host communities, the forest department and several national and international conservation agencies, the Society for Mahseer Conservancy stands as an example that conservation issues can be effectively addressed through grassroots initiatives and sheer willpower despite very limited resources. It has instigated and promoted conservation initiatives of the nationally recognised successful comeback of the Golden Mahseer fish in the Ramnagar River (which can be seen at Vanghat) and has also raised awareness for protecting the nest sites of the critically-endangered Indian vulture, and founded schemes to reduce human-wildlife conflict around Corbett National Park. Over the years, the Society for Mahseer Conservancy has also assisted numerous students with research, internship, and PHD programmes, and has been a regional favourite with gap year students and eco-volunteers.