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Free Mitthu, Free Kittu: A Forest Officer’s Campaign Does Magic

A campaign by Sendhwa Forest Division is saving many animals and birds IFS officer Anupam Sharma inspired the public to turn ‘Pro Planet People’
Indian Masterminds Stories

A forest officer while interacting with a group of children at a forest camp suddenly got an idea that has now saved more than 100 animals and birds in the Sendhwa forest division of Barwani district in Madhya Pradesh.

IFS officer Mr Anupam Sharma started the ‘Free Mitthu, Free Kittu’ Campaign on 30 December, 2022, to motivate citizens to release captive Mitthu (Parakeet) and Kittu (Turtle) to their natural habitats.

Inspired by the efforts of the 2018 batch officer, within a month people had freed over 60 pets.

Mr. Sharma told Indian Masterminds how they sensitize the young minds towards forest, wildlife, and climate.

IFS officer Anupam Sharma

“We run Anubhuti camps, where we take the children to a natural environment to camp,” the former Sendhwa Forest Division Officer, said.

Read This: Anubhuti: A Forest Camp Organised by Sendhwa Forest Department to Celebrate MP Foundation Day

During one such camping mission, Mr Sharma asked the children about their pets like parrots and turtles.
Almost 5 per cent of the children had admitted to having such a pet, said the officer. In subsequent camps, he found out that almost the same number of kids each time had a Mitthu or Kittu.

“So it came down to such a pet in every 20th house. That meant if there are one lakh families, then
about 4 to 5 thousand families have such pets. I decided it was time to act,” said the forest officer.

Paople participating in campaign and freed the pets

THE CAMPAIGN

Under the campaign ‘Mission LiFE’, Mr Anupam Sharma decided to reward and felicitate whoever freed the wild animals as ‘Pro Planet People’.

Announcements were made at public places regarding the legal provisions under Wildlife Protection Act, besides interactions with school children and media coverage.

The ‘Pro Planet People’ certificates were distributed on Republic Day.

Mr Anupam Sharma, who is now posted as DFO Burhanpur, said, “About 60 to 70 such pets were rescued within a month. Now the number must be more than 100.”

IFS Officer Anupam Sharma felicitates Pro Planet People

However, the movement was not hassle-free as there were families, particularly children, who were so attached to their Mitthu/Kittu that they were hesitant to free them. But the forest officials were able to convince them.

The officer also spoke about the harm the animals encountered as pets.

Many parrots die while being captured, others have their wings broken or twisted to stop them from escaping. Then there are religious beliefs to some captures, like vastu and others, he added.

The pet trade of wildlife promotes poaching activities and there are legal provisions. However, Mr Sharma said he found this route of Mission LiFE, more attractive and beneficial.

“It is for our ecosystem so we dealt with people in a soft and persuasive mode and it really worked,” he added.

Those who keep parrots and turtles in their homes are often unaware of the impact it has on the environment. Parakeets help in the dispersal of seeds, while turtles cleanse the aquatic ecosystems.


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