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From The Chairman's Desk
similipal-forest
SIMILIPAL - it was a case of love at first sight, way back in 1983.

SIMILIPAL - the name itself brings back memories from my younger days when I with my family & friends spent numerous hours merely enjoying the charm of silence & the sound of wildlife resonating from all corners of the jungle in Upper Barakamra; Dhudruchampa; Debasthali; Jenabil; Chahala & other parts of the forest.

A mere glimpse of any wildlife be it a Sambar, an elephant, a tiger or any other animal would be enough to fill me with joy. In fact, even witnessing the wilderness and feeling, even if without seeing, the presence of life hidden amidst the trees & dense cover has ecstatic.

My love for Wildlife had developed during my school days when I used to spend most of my holidays visiting forested areas in India with my parents. This love flourished over the years. Reading books by Jim Corbett and other famous writer's on forest intensified my love & I used to maintain an album for wildlife photographs as a teenager.

My passion for nature had grown immensely and I began to search for a suitable land in a strategic location near Similipal, from where I would be able to see the range of Similipal hills. Finally, in the monsoon of 1998, I purchased my dream land which overlooked the famous green hill ranges of Similipal, that witnesses the first rays of sun at the crack of dawn. I am grateful to GOD for this, it is one of the greatest blessings of my life.

I visited Similipal at least thrice a year, often with my family & few friends. I preferred the time when the forest was delightfully deserted & devoid of other visitors. We didn't catch glimpses of tigers most of the time, but that hardly matters. The forest be itself stood exceptionally beautiful & tranquil, with its valleys, streams, rivers, waterfalls, caves, plants & orchids and variety of fauna.

However, I gradually began to notice that a lot of changes were taking place every year. The cutting of forests, indiscriminate felling of trees, rapid increase of human population in the villages inside the forest area, had enhanced the conflict between man & animal. The poaching rate increased, the tigers began to disappear gradually.

However, Similipal did not lose its charm. The tiger population may have dropped significantly but many more elephants, leopards and other wild animals have spotted around Chahala, Joranda & other places. The thick cover, still make is an ideal place for tiger habitat.

However, around end March,2009, unidentified hooligans attacked few tourists inside the forest & caused extensive damage to several forest offices. The authorities decided to announce the closure of Similipal for tourists till further announcement.

I moved by this incident, began to accumulate reports from news agencies & other sources spanning over the last few years, I felt disheartened after going through the reports. I came to know, that tigers & its habitats under serious threats & constrains at this moment. I felt from core of my heart, that something needed to be done without further delay, otherwise it would be too late.

Now, I have completely become a conservationist. I have decided to put my knowledge, resources, experiences with nature, wildlife & forest to better use for the prosperity of forests. I wish to conserve what is left.

Hence, the CONCERN FOR SIMILIPAL TIGER RESERVE has taken birth.

I have decided to establish a charitable trust named " THE SIMILIPAL FOUNDATION "
( TSF ). The Trustees include eminent personalities from different walks of Society who committed to the cause of conservation. The foundation mainly founded by SRI ADITYA MUKHERJEE, Chairman & Managing Director of M/s. SOLACE GROUP OF COMPANIES & associated group of Companies & may receive project grants from National & International Organizations.

The Similipal foundation activities will be expanded to the Sunderbans & Dooars of West Bengal & other parts of the Country as well in future. TSF will work towards the conservation of Wildlife & nature, to fulfill its dream of man & nature living together in harmony. TSF will also publish a Quarterly Newsletter based on Similipal shortly to create awareness & involve more & more people across the globe.

With best wishes for the future

ADITYA MUKHERJEE
CHAIRMAN
CONCERN FOR SIMILIPAL TIGER RESERVE