GUWAHATI: Conservationists, environment activists, green gurus and policy makers from India, Bhutan, Myanmar and other parts of the world will gather here next month to work out a trans-border jumbo conservation plan.
Organized by the Sonitpur-based Balipara Foundation, an NGO engaged in promoting green economics through sustainable utilization of biodiversity resources, the upcoming conclave, on November 6 and 7, will also chart out a roadmap for taking forward wild elephant conservation across boundaries.
The organizers said the threats faced by wild elephants in Bhutan, India and Myanmar as also during migration, will be highlighted by experts. The three countries are home to approximately 15,000 elephants, which is nearly 50% of the entire Asian elephant population.
Among those who would be taking part in the conclave would be special adviser to the National Environment Commission of Bhutan and architect of the widely acclaimed Gross Happiness Index philosophy Dasho Palijor J Dorji; 'Elephant lady of Myanmar' Khyne U Mar; Wangchuk of Bhutan Foundation, Peter Liemgruber of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Piers Locke of the University of Canterbury.
"Elephants don't understand borders. As forests become fragmented and migratory routes disappear, how are we going to sustain the elephant population?" wondered Foundation chairman Ranjit Barthakur.
He added, "Fragmented habitats and disappearing migratory routes have led to a catastrophic shrinkage in the elephant population. Without elephants there would be no forests and without forests we would be deprived of the life-sustaining services that forest ecologies provide as in free carbon sequestration, climate regulation and flood management."
Operations executive of the Foundation Robin Eastment said, "Preliminary proposals for trans-border biodiversity parks connecting India and Myanmar have been shared with Prince Charles through the British Asian Trust and we have received a good response."
The participants are also expected to sign the "key resolutions for the future" and form a joint action committee to oversee all future initiatives.
The second Balipara Foundation Awards will be given away in 11 categories on the occasion. This year for the first time a special category award has been initiated: the Mark Shand Mahout award. This award will be conferred on five mahouts for their service and in recognition of their knowledge on management of captive elephants.