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Tribute to the Elephant Man of Asia Dr. Kushal Konwar Sarma

Born on 1st of March, 1961 in a remote village of lower Assam, Dr. Kushal Konwar Sarma completed his schooling

Dr. Kushal Konwar Sarma

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  15 Aug 2020 1:53 AM GMT

Born on 1st of March, 1961 in a remote village of lower Assam, Dr. Kushal Konwar Sarma completed his schooling securing a National Scholarship, graduated from the College of Veterinary Science, AAU, in 1984. He completed his master's degree in Veterinary Surgery & Radiology in 1987 and PhD in the same field in 1994 as an in-service candidate. He joined Assam Agricultural university (AAU) in 1987 as an Assistant professor and promoted to Professor in the Department of Surgery & Radiology in 2006. He has been the Head of his department from 2012. Dr. Sarma is widely recognized as the "Elephant Man of Asia" and is globally known for his works on wild life health care, management and conservation. The service rendered by him in this field has saved the lives of thousands of wild animals globally. His relentless efforts have led to a notable change in the perspective towards wild animal healthcare and conservation in India, particularly in the survival and welfare of Asian Elephants and One-horned Rhinoceros, which has also been recognized globally.

Gold Medalist of 1984 batch of Veterinary Graduates of AAU, Dr. Sarma has bagged many National and International awards/recognitions. He received prestigious Dr. S. J. Anjelo Gold Medal from the Indian Veterinary Association (1997). He was conferred 'Award of Excellence' by the Chief Minister, Assam in recognition of outstanding contribution for rescuing stray rhinos from human dominated landscape (2012). He was conferred the prestigious 'Fellow' of Indian Society for Veterinary Surgery (2012) and Indian Society of Animal Production and Management (2020). Dr. Sarma has received 'Certificate of Recognition for commitment to Asian elephant Conservation, Health and Welfare' by North Carolina State University in USA (2014). Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, Hon'ble Governor of Assam had presented Dr. Sarma with the 'Award of Excellence' and honoured him with the title, "Elephant Man of Asia" (2018). Dr Sarma has been selected for the prestigious padmashree award (2020) to honour his contribution in the field of veterinary medicine.

Dr. Sarma has authored over 150 research papers in National and International scientific journals, authored 6 books, co-authored or contributed chapters in 7 books, guided 45 students in PhD & MVSc in Veterinary Science and published over 100 popular articles in various English or vernacular journals. He is member of the Editorial Board of one International (Chiang Mai University, Thailand) and two highly-rated National journals. Dr. Sarma has completed two research projects as Principal Investigator and two as co-investigator. His work with IIT Guwahati on "Electrospun silk polyaniline conduits for functional nerve regeneration in rat sciatic nerve injury model" received critical acclamations in medicine.

Dr. Sarma has travelled extensively, served one month in Indonesia as International Elephant Expert and is a guest faculty of the North Carolina State University and New Mexico University in USA. He had led the Rhino translocation programme in Chitwan National Park in Nepal. He has organized several National and international seminars, conferences and training programmes as the Course Director or Organizing Secretary.

Besides his call of duty as a university professor and administrator, Dr. Sarma has dedicated his life to the healthcare and welfare of wild animals in general, elephants and rhinos in particular. He has not enjoyed a single holiday or weekend for personal comfort or pleasure for over three decades, running from forest to forest, at the service of wildlife. He attends over 700 elephants annually for preemptive and on-call basis, which now includes besides Assam, other Indian reserves like Dudhwa (UP), Rajaji (Uttarakhand), Jaldapara (West Bengal), Kanha, Panna (MP) etc. He has the distinction of subjugating a record 139 rogue elephants in the jungles of north eastern region of India. He is the spearhead of the Veterinary team with the target of leading the world famous Manas National Park on the path of revival by reintroduction of the One-horned Rhinoceros. Besides rescue, treatment and translocation of many wild elephants, Dr. Sarma provides parallel services to Rhinos, Swamp deer, Tigers, Leopards, Bear, Bison, and Wild Buffaloes etc. all over India.

Dr. Sarma is a member of the Steering Committee and Captive Elephant Healthcare and Welfare Committee of Project Elephant, Govt. of India; Zoo and Circus Elephant evaluation committee, Central Zoo Authority; Assam and Tripura State Board of Wildlife etc. He is the serving Chairman of the Blue Cross Society, Assam and has also served as the Vice President of Indian Society for Veterinary Surgery. He is presently the member of Asian Elephant Specialist Group, IUCN, and EEHV Asia Working Group.

Written by-

Dr. Jahan Ahmed

Azizur Rahman

College of Veterinary Science, AAU Khanapara, Guwahati

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