The youngsters who wanted to become engineer, doctor, architectures, are now finding more interest to be a ecologist, environmentalist, conservationists of nature and wild life, and serve in forest department. Thanks for the Youth Club activities of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, which is turning a new leaf in the lives of young minds.
Sujith, first year engineering student at NIE, who wanted to become engineer, expressed his desire to be a Forest Range Officer. He says, “After becoming Youth Club member the perspective towards looking towards nature and animals has changed. I have understood nothing is important than conservation of nature and environment. After observing about behavior of wild animals, there is no fear towards wild. I have noticed even they get panic when we go close to them. By studying about animals and nature from last couple of weeks, I have decided to serve in forest department and take a call to protect wild.”
Diya, student of Marimallappa High School says, “I wanted to become a doctor. But now am in conflict either to become ecologist nor a doctor. Our visit to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and studying about the plants, nature of cactus, looking towards wide variety of bamboos were very impressive. The love towards 'Mother Nature' has increased after joining youth club. Every student should become members of Youth Club, which gives a new dimension to our career.”
“After joining youth club, the way I look towards the dogs has changed. Earlier, if anybody was throwing stones for dogs was walking silently. But now I raise voice and ask them to respect animals. I also ask them to be compassion towards street dogs and other pet animals. Study about herbivores and carnivores animals, wallowing, protection of habitat, study of butterflies, tranquilizing equipment, and other classes are very interesting," adds Rachitha of Rotary School.
“Youth Club activities are very knowledgeable and full of fun. Exposure trips to Bandipur National park, Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Bird Watching helps us lot to understand the nature of birds and animals. I have become environmental lover after attending the programme,” added Bilwanand of Pushkarni School.
“There is lot of behavioral change after joining the youth club. We are educating family and friends how to treat animals kindly. Resource persons from different fields deliver talks, and share their experiences about conservation of forest. The talks on rain water harvesting, conservation of water, importance of trees, reasons for global warming, climate change and several other issues are helping us to bend ourselves and take a call for protection of nature,” says the members of youth club.
"Earlier Sundays, I used to waste time watching television. Now, I eagerly wait for Sundays to take part in the Youth Club activities. Due to over greed we are spoiling our nature and we are causing threat to animals and birds. Rapid growth of urbanisation, increase in pollution has become cause of worrisome. There is need of educating family and friends. We discuss about the Zoo activities in schools, which helps our classmates to understand the importance of nature," adds Bharath, Vag Bharathi Vidya Samsthe.
"The curious, enthusiasm among children is mind blowing and are essential for budding conservation biologists. The children are also educated about sustainable development, waste management, protection of lakes, water management, importance of rain water harvesting, urban landscaping, etc. The activities will be conducted for ten months on every Sundays," added Dr Manjunath, veterinary doctor of Zoo.
C Ravi Shankar, Executive Director of Zoo, who was also a member of Youth Club during his school days, going down the memory lane said,: "Earlier we were listening to resource persons, sitting beneath under a tree. I came to know about the plants, birds only after I joined the youth club. Its sure the activities helps the young mind to understand about conservation of flora and fauna, and changes the perspective of people looking towards wild. India is a diverse country, and there is need of drawing attention of youngsters towards conservation of nature."
"Youth Club", an unique conservation education programme of Myusru Zoo started in 1993. The aim of the Youth Club is to develop leadership qualities among the youth to spread the message of wildlife protection and environmental conservation. In the last 25 years, about 1500 students (between 12-18 years) have underwent training under the programme. About 60 students will be selected every year for Youth Club activities. There are instances, the youngsters after undergoing treatment are serving in forest departments, and most of them have turned zoo volunteers.
The children will be given hands on experience with scientific reasons related to conservation of nature., and acquaint knowledge about the captive management, wild life conservation, road ecology, revolution of zoo, and zoo activities like feeding animals, study of animal behavior, interaction with keepers and visitors, understanding the components of bio-diversity, recycling of waste into resource, how change in life style helps to conserve environment, also sensitizing young minds towards environmental issues, and implanting green initiatives.