By Subhamoy Bhattacharjee
Under the IFAW: WTI Wildlife Crime Prevention Training programme, a total of 100frontline forest staff of Manas National Park, Manas Reserve Forest, Kachugaon Reserve Forest and Ripu Reserve Forest in Greater Manas are targeted to be trained and equipped in partnership with the Assam Forest Department and Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC). The first batch of 32 trainees among the four batches from all the three ranges of Manas National Park is undergoing training from Sunday.
Greater Manas is a critical wildlife habitat along the Indo-Bhutan border in Bodoland, Assam, supporting a wide range of flora and fauna including the endangered Asian elephant, Royal Bengal tiger, greater one-horned rhinoceros, golden langur and Bengal florican. A concept, adopted by the Bodoland Territorial Council authorities, the landscape extends over 1500 sq km covering Manas National Park, Manas Reserve Forest and Ripu Reserved Forest. Two participants from Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary on the easternmost buffer of Manas Tiger Reserve also attended the training.
The training that will go on for a month will see the frontline staff, in batches of 25, brush upon their understanding protection of biodiversity of Greater Manas, threats faced and its conservation. They will learn about identification of animals based on secondary evidence such as pugmarks and horns, about wildlife laws, commercial poaching and trade, important local endemic species in illegal wildlife trade, methods of hunting and the relevant sections of dealing with wildlife crime as per the state’s laws (Assam FR 1891) and the Indian (Wildlife) Protection Act of 1972, and a diverse other issues.
Khampa Borgoyary, Deputy Chief of BTC, remarked, "Training, morale boosting and equipping front line staff is very important in conservation. Conducting trainings like these in three crucial areas of Greater Manas is a good initiative to control wildlife crime and impose law and order in the region."
Sonali Ghosh, the Deputy Director – Manas Tiger Reserve, commented on the training, “It is a great initiative taken by IFAW-WTI to train the front line staffs of Forest. It should be done in broader aspects touching the boundaries from western side to eastern landscape of Manas. The local NGOs and CBOs should be included in the learning process as they also stand shoulder to shoulder with Frontline staffs in guarding nature." More....