Mumbai: ICICI Prudential Life and WWF-India have joined hands to aid the protectors of India’s forests and wildlife. As part of their CSR initiative, ICICI Prudential Life will provide augmented protection to frontline protection staff, (Forest Guards, Foresters and Range officers as other staff) through ex-gratia funding, in the event of their death or permanent disability while on official duty.
Exposed to life threatening dangers such as wild animal attacks, forest fires, weapon injuries inflicted by wildlife poachers, electrocution and deadly diseases such as malaria, the program aims to provide financial security to the forest staff and their family members who are in need, in the event of an unforeseen tragedy. Such support will go a long way in ensuring enhanced focus by the frontline protection staff in strengthening protection measures in habitats of iconic and often endangered wildlife.
The program will be extended to the frontline staff of 15 forests under WWF-India’s 10 priority landscapes (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala) and provide support to forest guards.
WWF-India extends support to State Forest Departments, one of its key partners, through a range of interventions, including conducting wildlife research and monitoring, managing human wildlife conflict, building capacity through training programs and providing relevant infrastructure support to improve and strengthen protection measures in important wildlife habitats.
Mr. Sandeep Bakhshi, Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, said “The forest guards and other protection staff do a commendable job in protecting India’s forests and wildlife. It is because of them that the ecosystem is safe. They face various challenges and risk their lives while carrying out their everyday duties. Protection is a must for every individual with responsibilities. Through our partnership with WWF, we aim to provide financial protection, in the form of ex-gratia payment, to the frontline forest guards and their families.”
Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India, “Through initiatives such as these, we strive to protect those who protect our natural world. Working in extreme conditions, frontline forest staffs are in constant danger while safeguarding our country’s endangered species and wilderness areas. With this initiative, WWF-India and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance aim to motivate and aid such foot soldiers of India’s forests, whose work is beneficial to our country now and will create consequential and positive impacts for future generations. We believe that such partnerships will go a long way in helping us protect India’s natural heritage.”