Sensitization programme
The participants of the sensitization programme on wildlife forensics at Kohora. Image credit - Northeast Now

The field vets of Assam were recently sensitized on wildlife forensics during a programme organized by the College of Veterinary Science, Assam Agricultural University (AAU) in collaboration with the Kaziranga National Park authority.

During the sensitization programme on wildlife forensics held at Kohora, the main thrust was given on wildlife crime control with the help of wildlife forensics.

Dr. Munmun Sarma, senior professor of College of Veterinary Science, deliberated on ‘Importance of wildlife forensics in species identification and use of guard hair as an important tool in wild species’ as a resource person.

Dr Sarma, who is working in the field of wildlife, also spoke on the ongoing DBT-funded research project on ‘Species Identification of Wild Herbivores based on molecular, microscopic and ultra-structural characterization of hair samples’.

A Sinsgon, deputy director of the Directorate of Forensics Science, Kahilipara, spoke on ‘Wildlife forensics and lab techniques used in species identification’.

Dr. Kishore Kumar Sharma, assistant director of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Rukminigaon, spoke on ‘use of wildlife forensics in crime control’.

“Veterinarians from the department of animal husbandry and veterinary, Assam; vets from Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Corbett Foundation attended the programme,” Dr. Munmun Sarma said in a press statement.

The programme was also attended by K.K. Deuri, assistant conservator of forest (ACF), Central Range and Dr. Pranjal Gogoi, ranger from Bisawanath Wildlife Division.

P Sivakumar, director, KNP and Rohini B. Saikia, divisional forest officer (DFO), KNP were present as dignitaries in the plenary session and valedictory function.

Sivakumar in his presidential address stressed on the importance of forensic application in wildlife and need of a standard operating procedure for crime investigation and conviction of the offenders in the court of law.

In the plenary session, the participants mentioned about the requirement of a separate and highly sophisticated forensic lab with modern state of the art facility dedicated for wildlife under College of Veterinary Science, AAU, Khanapara in partnership with department of environment, forest and climate change, Assam.

The KNP director also requested Dr. Munmun Sarma to organize similar training programmes in future with support from the Park.

Dr. Bhaskar Choudhury, principal veterinarian, WTI requested the chairman of the plenary session that a wildlife forensic lab is highly essential to help the judiciary system for conviction of the offenders, who otherwise escape conviction due to lack of proper evidence.

“All the field veterinarians supported his proposal,” it said.

Dr. Jahan Ahmed, one of the organizers, appealed to the department of environment and forest, Assam to offer a helping hand in establishing a separate and highly sophisticated forensic lab under the Department of Anatomy and Histology, College of Veterinary Science, AAU, Khanapara.

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