In a two-day training course on enforcement of wildlife laws in Nagaland, the foresters of the state were imparted training on wildlife crimes, trade, Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and simulation exercises in investigating crime scenes and drafting wildlife offence report.
The training, organised by the Nagaland forest department, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, ministry of environment, forests and climate change, government of India, and the Wildlife Conservation Society India, at forest office complex here concluded on Tuesday.
Nagaland principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) Satya Prakash Tripathi, in his keynote address, highlighted the historical background of consumption of wildlife meat by the people.
He noted that the Naga people are increasingly coming forward and standing up for wildlife conservation even though the Naga customary practices involved hunting of wildlife.
Elaborating on the difficulties in implementation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 in Nagaland, Tripathi called for taking the people into confidence by helping them in declaring their community conservation areas into community reserve so that they can benefit on sustained basis.
He said the unique landholding system is in place in Nagaland because of Article 371 (A) of the Constitution wherein 88 per cent of forests in the state are privately owned by individuals or communities with the state government having little control over them.
However, a number of communities have come out to help in the conservation efforts, he said.
Tripathi said, “Today, the state has a total of 57 community reserves with the state government declaring them protected as per Section 36C of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972,” he added.
Tripathi said the state forest department is trying its best to protect and conserve wildlife but rued the limited funds made available to the department.
“We are answerable to the Supreme Court, High Court, National Green Tribunal and other national agencies but we have a big problem because there is little fund for enforcement,” he said.
He lauded the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and Wildlife Conservation Society, Bangalore for taking up the training course.
He hoped that the trainees benefitted by understanding various provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 through interaction with the trainers of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Principal secretary, environment, forest and climate change department, said there are perceptional changes in the mind of people during last five-six years regarding protection and conservation of forest and wildlife.
He asked the trainees to know how to register a case against an offender under different sections of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
He appreciated the efforts of the Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Trust, led by Banuo Haralu, for its role in conservation of wildlife in general and Amur Falcons in particular in the state.
Regional head of Wildlife Conservation Society, North Eastern Region, and former principal chief conservation of forest of Assam, Dev Prakash Bankhwal outlined the importance of forest and wildlife for our survival and said every species has a crucial role in an ecosystem.
“We have to adjust ourselves within natural laws which are fixed and cannot be changed,” Bankhwal said.
Lauding the efforts of the Nagaland forest department in declaring 57 community reserves under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, he stressed the need of having community areas network in the state.
Managing director, Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Trust, Banuo Haralu, called for regular interaction or communication of the forest field officers on conservation matter with the communities.
She also stressed the need of active participation of women in all activities related to forest and wildlife.