The Assam government is planning a lot of reach-out activities to be able to engage widely with people living in the vicinity of the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the state, and it will be done by officials of the Assam forest department.
Speaking to Northeast Now, Assam environment and forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma said that the year 2017 was relatively good for conservation and it was going good till almost the end of the year, when a couple of instances of poaching and killing of rhinos happened.
Poaching at the Kaziranga National Park has been at an over one and a half decade low, and this year five rhinos were poached in the national park, compared to 18 last year. Assam forest department data show that 143 rhinos were gunned down by poachers in the past 12 years.
“The ideal scenario for conservation will also zero poaching, but though we have not been able to achieve that till now, we are confident that we will reach very close to that soon,” said the Assam forest minister.
Brahma said that it is essential to reach out to the residents living in the villages and the settlements in the vicinity of national parks, as they play a very important role in conservation, and so they should not feel alienated in any way.
“From next year we are planning to explore possible entrepreneurship opportunities so that these people could be engaged in some income generating process, and that way their bonding with the Forest department and the wildlife sanctuary will grow,” said Brahma.
She said that the forest department is working on starting ‘sustainable entrepreneurship ventures’.
“Those people living in the vicinity of the parks have been living there for years, and so they have a lot of information which could be vital for the forest department in tackling poaching, and they will only share if there is a close bonding with the forest department,” said Brahma.
Brahma also added that the fringe villagers get to know about new people in the area, and about people who could possibly be poachers, and such clues and information from them could be vital for the forest department officials.