Teachers, not students, comprised the audience of an environmental awareness programme at the auditorium of a central Kolkata school on Tuesday.
Forest officials and wildlife activists addressed the gathering.
Tuesday’s session, titled Kids For Tigers and billed as an “educators’ environmental leadership meet”, took place at the hall of Loreto Day School, Bowbazar.
More than 100 teachers from around 50 schools in and around Kolkata were part of the meet.
“Teachers are social engineers....If teachers instil the sense of conservation in students, they can then influence their parents,” said Soumitra Dasgupta, principal chief conservator of forests and head of the forest force in West Bengal.
The programme was organised by the Sanctuary Nature Foundation, HT Parekh Foundation and the Society for Heritage and Ecological Research (SHER).
Joydip Kundu of SHER said he had received a call earlier in the day, from a woman who panicked after spotting a civet cat at her home. “She said she would poison the animal if I did not arrange to have it taken away.”
A real estate boom on the fringes of Kolkata has come at the cost of shrinking wetlands, which translates to habitat loss for snakes, fishing cats and civet cats and water monitor lizards. The result — a rise in man-animal conflicts.
Subhankar Sengupta, chief conservator of forests, headquarters, put things in perspective. “Tiger is at the apex of the ecosystem. But animals found in the urban landscape also contribute to the state’s biodiversity. Conservation is meaningless if it does not include them,” he said.