To contain the increasing forest fires in Nawanshahr and the Shivaliks, Nikhil Senger, a Nawanshahr resident, is slogging it out to revive the waterbodies. With the help of water tankers, Nikhil has revived at least 20 dried up waterbodies in the jungles.

After a forest fire in Majra on March 3, Nikhil began taking water tankers of 5,000-6,000 litres capacity to the forest to track wildlife in distress and revive waterbodies. For the past over a month, he has taken 30 to 35 water tankers in the forests of Majra, Bana, Tonsa, Bhaddi, Noorpur, Singhpur and Hajipur to rejuvenate dried-up streams, choes, ponds and other waterbodies.

“On March 3, I saw sambars and blue bulls fleeing the forest after a fire broke out. We immediately took a water tanker there. I was chased by thirsty sambars. In parched forest, animals catch the scent of water fast. I search for areas where for 4 to 5 km there are no waterbodies and build kutcha ponds there. It takes two to three tankers to fill up one 10-foot-deep waterbody. I have filled at least 20 so far this year. About 10 to 20 years ago, there used to be incessant rains for weeks in jungles. But now jungles have dried up, leading to wild fires and posing threat to animals.”

Tracking wildlife with motion-sensor cameras at Hajipur, Nikhil was astounded by results. “In a 10-day period, 1,278 animals came to the pond I created. My camera captured huge blue bulls, peacocks, sambars, wild boars among other animals visiting the kutcha pond to quench their thirst.”

Nikhil first took a tanker to Singhpur forest after a wildfire in 2011. He has been accorded the title of Honorary Wildlife Warden for his extensive relief and rescue work in jungles and villages. With a body of do-gooders in the Shivaliks, he now plans to buy his own tanker and start a “Water for Wildlife” service soon.

Source: 22 April, 2021, The Tribune