Pug marks of Royal Bengal Tiger in Poba. Image: Northeast Now

The Poba reserve forest in Assam’s Dhemaji district may soon be declared as a wildlife sanctuary.

Yes. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has recently instructed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for action and steps as necessary to declare it as a wildlife sanctuary.

The development took place after prominent nature and wildlife conservation organization, Natures Beckon wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to declare Poba as a wildlife sanctuary for the sake of the wildlife.

Declared as a reserve forest in 1924 by the then British government, Poba used to have many rare and endangered wildlife species.

Rampant destruction of forest cover and unchecked extraction of resources reduced the forest cover of Poba to a large extent, affecting the wildlife.

“Poba has a contiguous landscape with D Ering Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh and Dibru Saikhowa national park in Assam,” said Soumyadeep Datta of Natures Beckon.

“It is also an important wildlife corridor and destruction of the forest in Poba is affecting the wildlife in this landscape,” he added.

“Due to the negligence of forest department of Assam, encroachers destroyed the dense forest,” said Jugal Handique, a member of the Natures Beckon.

“They occupied a lot of areas of the reserve forest for cultivation, establishing tea gardens and constructing houses,” Handique added.

“Some of them are frequently maintaining their illegal trading by cutting the valuable trees, smuggling wild orchids and medicinal plants, hunting wild animals etc,” he added.

ALSO READ: Assam: Royal Bengal tiger spotted in Poba reserve forest!

“Another threat for the Poba reserve forest is erosions caused by the Siang and the Lali Rivers flowing nearby,” Handique further said.

“Recently, Poba lost a vast area due to erosions by both the rivers,” Handique added.

“But it is very unfortunate to see that nobody has taken this as a serious matter,” Handique, who dashed off the letter to the PM, added.

“It is a good move by the PMO as the more than a decade old battle of the Natures’ Beckon to get Poba declared as a wildlife sanctuary have been noticed,” Datta said expressing his happiness.

In April this year forest officials of Jonai forest division in Dhemaj spotted pugmark of a Royal Bengal Tiger in the reserve forest.

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