The Sarai at Toria helps to fund and support a small charitable trust—Baavan-Bagh Aap Aur Van—that Raghu and Joanna set up with friends some years ago. The name Baavan means 52 in Hindi and refers to an important female tigress who lived in the Panna Tiger Reserve during the time Raghu was conducting his research work there. Bagh Aap Aur VAN translates to ‘the big cat, you and the forest’, reflecting the trust’s interest in wildlife, its habitat and people.
Raghu’s tiger study revealed that the Panna Tiger Reserve is too small to hold a viable population of tigers over the long term. Since extension of the exclusive park model is not possible, another solution is to create a meta population in the region by protecting satellite areas of forest that could hold small breeding populations and also act as safe stepping stones en route to other populations such as the one in Bandhavgarh. Our vision is to see these satellite tiger asylums also as a means for bringing development and enhanced livelihoods to the communities that live in these remote areas. Through Baavan we are taking steps to realise this goal.
This is the first Annual Report that Baavan has brought out and it encapsulates the work we have done over the 2019-20 period. We hope you will enjoy reading about this side of our endeavours and we look forward to continuing this path once pandemic restrictions ease.