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Poachers in Jomduar forest turn protectors of wildlife

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 April 2016 12:00 AM GMT

From our Correspondent

KOKRAJHAR, April 2: Good news for ture lover and conservationists. Pesons who were active poachers in one of the most popular reserve forests, Jomduar forest along the Indo-Bhutan border in Kokrajhar district have turned into active guards of wild animals and have been working with the NGO-Jwngthi Mathi.

Durjay Basumatary (40) of village Bongaon, a recognized forest village under Gossaigaon subdivision of Kokrajahr district and Swmkhwr Basumatary of Bollamjhora, a forest fringe village, who is now a BA fil year student of Gossaigaon College, have given up hunting wild animals and become guardians of animals in Jomduar reserve forest working with the NGO-Jwngthi Mathi. They were well-known huntsmen in the locality who used to go to the jungle to hunt and then sell the meat of wild animals in the market.

Durjay Basumatary said he used to hunt deer, pigs, reptiles, birds and other animals including endangered species in Jomduar reserve forest for years. “I used to sell meat of wild animals in the local market at a rate of Rs 200 per kg for certain meat but my economic condition did not improve with this business for which I decided to give up hunting. In the long years of being a hunter, I could evade arrest by the department concerned. Today, I feel fortute to be part of an NGO that works for the protection of wild animals and ture,” he said, adding that he has completely changed his mindset and affirmed that he would be working against poaching and hunting of wild animals.

Basumatary recollected his record of hunting saying that he roamed from Jomduar near Sonkosh River in the West Bengal border to Dubi and Pepsu in the famous Kachugaon reserve forest in the East. There are lots of wild animals like Bengal Tiger, beer, deer, boar, bison, elephant, peacock, hornbill, reptiles, various kinds of butterflies and birds in Jomduar reserve forest of Kachugaon division and these animals are still available, he said, adding that the time had come to conserve the flora and fau. He, however, said that he did not hunt big animals other than beer, boar, mongoose and birds.

Replying to questions, Basumatary said he used bows and arrows and sometimes country-made gun during hunting. He said he used to spend most of the nights in the jungle with other boys. He also said his heart was completely into protecting the wild animals and he would continue his association with the NGO.

Similarly, Swmkhwr Basumatary, a BA fil semester student of Gossaigaon College also recollected his activities in the past and said that now he only had affection towards wild animals. He said that the poor economic condition of the family forced him to go along with the poachers to earn money. He also said he would never go back to jungle for hunting but would work with the NGO for protection and conservation.

The NGO-Jwngthi Mathi and Kokrajhar Press Club (KPC) jointly held a motivation camp at Jomduar Tourist Guest House along the Bhutan border on Friday. The former poachers and local workers of the NGO were motivated by the KPC members and secretary of the Jwngthi-Mathi NGO- Panchan rzary towards the necessity of conservation of forest and wild animals as well as promoting tourism industry in Jomduar which has vast potential for ecotourism.

A rescued Dao Hudu (Indian eagle owl) was released in Jomduar reserve forest on Friday. The Indian eagle owl was let free by Durjay Basumatary in presence of leaders of the NGO-Jwngthi Mathi and Kokrajhar Press Club. A tree plantation programme was also held in the premises of Jomduar Tourist Guest House along the Bhutan border.

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