Exploring the flora and fauna of Barak Valley for conservation
The Northeast Green Summit at NIT concluded after lot of deliberations and panel discussion focussing on the rich biodiversity of the region and in contrast came in rapid degradation of nature and its resources mainly due to unscientific planning and urbanisation.
SILCHAR: The Northeast Green Summit at NIT concluded after lot of deliberations and panel discussion focussing on the rich biodiversity of the region and in contrast came in rapid degradation of nature and its resources mainly due to unscientific planning and urbanisation. The focus was also in particular on the forested greenery of Barak Valley and the Union Minister of State of Forest and Environment, Ashwani Choubey, on the concluding day of the Summit spoke of conserving its flora and fauna.
In the panel discussion the researched paper presented by Prof Parthankar Choudhury, former Head, Department of Science and Environment, Assam University, drew the limelight. He outlined the fact that this valley harbours many endangered fauna. The century old literature gives the impression that the area was once inhabited by mega herbivores like rhinoceros and mega carnivores like tigers. But none of them is now found in the forests of the valley.
As reported by W H Hunter (1879) in his book 'A Statistical Handbook of Assam,' out of 12 important animals of the then undivided Cachar, mithun, two bangar, a species of buffalo, sambar deer, barking deer, barasinga, tigers, leopards, rhinoceros, wild hog, black bear and flying fox, only two species of deer, sambar and barking, exist in a limited number. Elephants are also on steep decline in the area. Only three of the species, one male, one female and a juvenile, also a female, are fighting for survival in Katakhal reserve forest. In addition, there is an all female herd of elephants that roam in the trans-border Patharia reserve forest along Indo-Bangladesh border.
Unless taken care of the fragmented population of pachyderm might face extinction, Prof Choudhury pointed out. Prof Parthankar Choudhury said nine species of primates found in Northeast are found in the wilds of the valley except golden langur. But, all of them faced extinction due to loss of their pristine habitats. Ganges river dolphin, once found in abundance in Barak river and its tributaries, is fast dwindling due to lack of conservation and clandestine poaching. Laws are there, but their application is hardly seen. He suggested that trained and qualified teachers are appointed in schools and colleges to teach the students how best and effective role they can play towards protection and preservation of the flora and fauna.
Similar is the fate of various faunas like Bengal monitor lizard, snake species, turtles and tortoises. The scenario is equally gloomy for avifauna as well. He opined it is imperative that case-specific and habitat-specific conservation initiative has to be taken up for the protection of all important species, stressed Prof Parthankar Choudhury.