World Wildlife Day observed in Kaziranga National Park (KNP)
Numaligarh: Celebrating special days provides a unique opportunity to share the joy of accomplishment, reflect on the journey, obstacles faced and collectively chart out a path for the future generation. The Corbett Foundation (TCF) and Kaziranga National Park (KNP) jointly organized an event on World Wildlife Day on Tuesday that had all the ingredients of an outdoor experience, learning, joy and first-hand feeling of wilderness.
Five schools in the villages adjacent to KNP, artists, teachers and media representatives came together at Mihimukh to celebrate Kaziranga’s successful conservation story. It started with an early morning jeep safari ride guided by Salim Ahmed, Range Officer of Kohora Range of KNP. Accompanied by seasoned naturalists and dedicated frontline staff of KNP, the participants observed the diversity of the park and learned about various measures taken by the park for wildlife conservation.
Kathphora tower and Daflong tower served as workstations for the participants. A sketching and painting session lasting for two hours helped them produce stunningly beautiful greeting cards. These were meant for the guests of Kaziranga; the tourists who flock to Kaziranga from all around the world. As the tourists approached Mihimukh after completing their safari ride, each student approached them, greeted them and handed over the card with a message of conservation from Kaziranga. An American visitor was so touched by this gesture that she said that she had not come across such initiative in her three decades of being a tourist. While the paintings of some students glorified the magnificent natural surroundings in the park, some of the cards depicted hardships faced by the wild animals during the flood. The trouble faced by the local community also featured in the paintings. The successful story of rhino conservation was obvious in most of the greeting cards.
An exhibition of over 200 photographs of wildlife by TCF’s Jadumoni Goswami attracted the students of Environment Science of Dalgaon College, Darrang. Ramesh Gogoi, DFO, Eastern Assam Wildlife Division, moderated the session on interaction and deliberation with all the participants and he emphasized that all the life forms on this planet should be respected and protected. It resonated with the theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day - ‘Sustaining all life on Earth’.
TCF Deputy Director Dr Naveen Pandey said, “With increasing competition for resources, the wildlife can only be protected through a timely investment in education and awareness. We must focus on making the younger generation aware of a sustainable ecosystem and value the concept of ecotourism.”
It is important to highlight the link between wildlife conservation and sustainable ecotourism. Students from the fringe villages are ambassadors of the goodwill generated by the park through ecotourism. Their engagement will result in a healthy relationship of the local community and park management. Students will shape the attitude of future generations for wildlife. Every year, March 3 is celebrated worldwide as Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.