Vanya, the gift shop at Waterwoods Lodge, Kabini, is an exclusive boutique of eco-sensitive products and handwork that support the local communities – the tribals and the wildlife of the Nilgiri Biosphere. Products featured here are mainly from WWF and the Mariamma Charitable Trust, both of whom do extensive conservation work in Nagarhole and Bandipur Tiger Reserves. WWF currently organises the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) programme in nine schools in the Kabini area; whereas the Mariamma Charitable Trust focuses on reducing man-animal conflict in the peripheries of the Tiger Reserves. The focus of the Trust is to protect wildlife that stray into habituated areas and are in danger of being killed by humans out of fear or in retaliation for loss of livestock. The Trust has organised a rapid response system to compensate farmers who lose livestock to wildlife, so that they do not harm the endangered wildlife – mainly the big cats.
Vanya also showcases and promotes the work of young wildlife artists from other Tiger reserves like Ranthambore and Bandavgarh. In turn, these artists conduct annual competitions and training programs in the rural schools around the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve.
Products on sale at Vanya include:
* Wildlife art in water colours, acrylic and oil on canvas.
* Wildlife themed clothes and accessories
* Animal guides
* Cottage/hand-made textiles
* Tribal honey, and
* Other cottage souvenirs