KAZIRANGA, June 18: With increasing possibility of Kaziranga tiol Park being inundated by the raging Brahmaputra River, the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) — an IFAW-WTI run wildlife welfare centre — has started pre-flood awareness campaign for the safety of wildlife in the fringe villages of this world heritage site, stated a press release.
With support of Kaziranga Forest Authority, two awareness meetings for residents of six villages in the fringe areas have already been held in Central and Eastern Range of the park. More such meetings for wildlife protection during floods will be held to cover the entire Kaziranga –Karbi Anglong landscape.
Previously during floods, the wildlife of the park moved towards the highland and hill ranges of Karbi Anglong crossing the NH-37. This tiol highway has become a death trap for many animals and therefore extra protection measures are needed for animals when they cross this road. During these years, a large number of hog deer succumbed to road hits during the floods.
Moreover, to mitigate the human–animal conflict during this crisis, the IFAW-WTI team has formulated a work plan for wildlife safety following the awareness meetings held in the fringe villages of Kaziranga and those in the foothills of Karbi Anglong. Conservationists, panchayats, village headmen, local NGOs, civil and forest authorities attended these meetings and sensitized villagers on how to save wildlife.
During the course of these meetings, CWRC’s animal welfare experts highlighted the issue of ‘unnecessary rescue’ of wildlife that causes displacement and sometimes leads to animal mortality, especially in deer species. Through audio-visual presentation and short videos, the participants were informed about flood rescue and guidelines on dos and don’ts were also shared.
CWRC designed informative bill-boards and leaflets in Assamese and handed it over to the village authorities to display at strategic locations for public awareness during the floods. Every banner has emergency contact numbers of CWRC and Kaziranga Control Room for immediate rescue. Two contact numbers of Kaziranga Control Room (03776-268007) and CWRC (03776-269563) would be operatiol 24x7.
Mukul Tamuli, Range Officer, Central Range, Kaziranga, said at the awareness meeting, “During flood days we have to work together for wildlife safety in Kaziranga. For any wildlife emergency, forest authorities are ready to work with the community like previous years. We also urge the villagers to keep a close eye on the movement of poachers during flood and intimate the forest authorities.” The Mobile Veteriry Service (MVS) unit of CWRC that has a team of veteririans, animal keepers, biologists and other conservationists who would be ready to attend to any wildlife emergency.
As it can be seen every year, Brahmaputra inundates the Kaziranga tiol Park and animals start moving towards Karbi Anglong foot hills where the threat of poaching is considerably high. Jagat Bahadur Chetri, renowned social worker from Tamuli Pathar village near Kaziranga, urged the participants not to catch deer which stray out of the park. He asked villagers to inform the Kaziranga Control room or CWRC if any wild animal needs to be rescued.
CWRC also trained a group of boys and girls of the fringe villages of Kaziranga on wild-rescue as a part of the pre-flood awareness campaign.
“In the first awareness meeting, we asked the villagers whether they need any kind of help from CWRC. Few boys said that they want to know about rescue in detail, especially about skes. A lot of ske related cases are reported from the region during floods and they wanted to know how to identify whether the ske is venomous or not. Keeping that in mind, we organised an orientation programme at the centre with 11 (8 boys and 3 girls),” said Dr Rathin Barman, Deputy Director, WTI.
Uttam Saikia, eminent conservationist and honorary wildlife warden, and ‘Aranyak’ team also participated in the workshop and gave valuable suggestions.This was stated in a press release.