Nothing will bring the plight of some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered creatures into sharper focus for your students than a residential trip to the national parks of southern India. Your class will actually see animals such as tigers and elephants in the wild as local experts explain to them the difficulties these creatures now face living so close to man.
There are two parks in particular which I would recommend to give your students a fascinating insight into the conservation efforts currently under way to protect two of Indian’s most iconic species: the elephant and the tiger.
Get Up Close to Elephants at Dubare Elephant Camp
The Dubare Elephant Camp in the Karnataka Forest is a sanctuary for elephants that were formerly used in forestry but today are protected. This is a wonderful environment for students to observe these magnificent creatures in a natural habitat. A residential trip to Dubare will include opportunities for your class to really interact with the elephants, helping the staff here take care of them and undertake various activities with them.
The trained staff will talk to your students about the work done at the camp towards conservation, as well as everything they’ve ever wanted to know about the ecology and biology of their wards. The conservationists at the camp will also inform your students about the important role elephants have played in Indian society throughout the country’s history, and how the role has changed over the years. The camp aims to not just inform those who come here on a residential trip – they hope to encourage them to become future ambassadors for elephant conservation.
Find out About Tiger Conservation at Bandipur Tiger Reserve
Bandipur National Park is one of the country’s most important wildlife sanctuaries with a stable population of a number of indigenous species including tigers and elephants. Set in the stunning, mountainous Chamarajanagar region close to Mysore, the park extends over 874km², and connects with neighbouring parks to offer a vast protected area of 2,183km² in southern India.
The scale of this group of national parks means that much of the wildlife here lives in safety, allowing students on a residential tripto have the unique opportunity of seeing how these beautiful animals behave and survive in the wild. Local park keepers will take groups on safaris through the dirt tracks of the park by 4x4 car, or for a truly spectacular experience, by elephant. Guides will describe to your students all the conservation work which goes on in the park and how these delicate populations are maintained. The information your students will have access to while in the park makes this not just a life-changing experience but a fascinating educational opportunity.
A residential trip of this kind can be complicated to organise, so the best idea is to engage a specialist school travel tour operator. That way they can take care of the travel details (visas, accommodation, park access etc.) which will free up your time to concentrate on preparing your students for the conservation trip of a lifetime.
John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in residential trip itineraries for school and youth groups to the UK, Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveller, John is very passionate about providing students with valuable and engaging learning experiences outside of the classroom. By sharing his expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and bring their studies to life.