Voices from the Field. a Health Needs Assessment Analysis of Frontline Staff Working in Tiger Reserves Across Central India

The global population of the wild tiger (Panthera Tigris) has dropped by 96% from 100,000 to just under 4000 over the last century. India is the last stronghold for this species and currently hosts 70% of the total tiger population. Forest guards make up the frontline defence to safeguard the natural habitat of the tigers and work in extremely remote environments where access to healthcare facilities is poor. 

The ‘Voices from the field project’ is a joint initiative developed by the Tulsi Foundation a UK based non-profit organisation and the Wildlife Conservation Trust (India). The overarching goal of the project is to explore the impact of health of frontline staff living and working in rural areas on conservation efforts in tiger reserves across Central India. The initiative to date has trained 1,100 rangers in 14 tiger reserves in basic life support (BLS), management of malaria, seizures, snake bites as well as major trauma from either human or wildlife conflict. 

These photographs represent the activity and engagement our team had with the frontline staff during the project and the voice of this neglected group. 

Submitted by:
Chetan Trivedy

Not all heroes are men

In our study 136 (13.6%) of the sample population are female. Many of those who we spoke to raised the issue of gynaecological health particularly around heavy menstrual cycles and the impact that this was having to patrol up to 45 Km of forest on foot in extreme weather.

Photographer: Dr Chet Trivedy

Snake bite first aid using a pressure pad immobilisation method

Snake bites are an important neglected tropical disease with an estimated 46,000 deaths attributed to snake bites in India in 2005. Our ranger study found that 5% of the participants had been bitten by a snake and 19% had administered first aid for a snake bite in the field

Photographer: Dr Chet Trivedy

Malaria point of care test training

We provide training on the use of point of care malaria testing kits that can be used in remote locations. In our study of 1,094 rangers across 14 tiger reserves in Central India, 30% stated that they have previously had malaria whilst working in the field.

Photographer: Dr Chet Trivedy

Sloth bear attack

Sloth bear attacks are not uncommon. One Indian study reported 137 attacks in a single park over a 2-year period with 11 deaths. This ranger was attacked by a bear and had to walk 5km with severe injuries. In our study, 5% of the rangers reported an animal attack
Photographer: Dr Vishal Gadre

One Health impacts on conservation

Global public health through the concept of One Health has a central role to play in conservation. The health of wildlife is bound with those who protect and live amongst it. It is the health of these rangers that will determine his survival and this tiger and his entire species
Photographer: Dr Chet Trivedy