Guwahati: With emphasis being given to check loss of wildlife habitat and curb poaching in the trans-boundary Manas landscape that straddles across India and Bhutan, conservationists have suggested joint patrolling by forest officials on both sides of the border.
The Manas National Park in western Assam is a contiguous landscape which spreads over Bhutan where it is known as Royal Manas National Park. The Indian side of Manas is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Unesco's World Heritage Committee has advised trans-boundary conservation of Manas. "Though there are frequent meetings and interactions with forest officials from both sides of Manas on conservation management issues, there is a need to institutionalize joint patrolling strategies for effectively dealing with the problem of poaching," said a senior wildlife conservationist.
The Trans-boundary Manas Conservation Area (Tramca) meeting in Bhutan, earlier this year, had suggested that coordination between forest officials on two sides of Manas is essential to curb poaching. It suggested that forest rangers of two sides should meet once a month to devise patrolling strategies and share information, while field directors and divisional forest officers of the respective areas in TraMCA will meet quarterly and share information.
Further, the Tramca meeting emphasized on enhancing enforcement capacity of field staff through implementation of SMART patrolling across the trans-boundary protected areas. SMART stands for Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tools — a cutting edge patrolling mechanism which involves GPS and other technologies in anti-poaching and wildlife managements, including intelligence gathering. Manas field director A C Das said the field staff are being trained up to involve them in SMART patrolling. "SMART patrolling is being implemented in Manas. We are yet to go for full implementation of SMART as many of our staffers are being trained on new technique," said Das.