Bringing Manas National Park back to its former glory requires the cooperation of a host of stakeholders, including those in the proposed state of Bodoland.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been working with leaders of Bodoland in northeast India for years.
Among the staunchest advocates of conservation are the members of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) secretariat, whose unstinting support has been one of the driving forces in securing this landscape, providing necessary support to NGOs like ours and empowering community-based organisations.
IFAW, with its partner Wildlife Trust of India, met with the BTC Secretariat to apprise them of the work we’ve done and additional steps needed for a more secure Greater Manas.
The attendees from the BTC Secretariat included the speaker, deputy speaker, deputy chief, forest department secretary, as well as other executives and MCLAs (Members of the Council Legislative Assembly).
WTI Trustee Prof PC Bhattacharjee’s inaugural speech opened the discussion. Deputy Chief Kampa Borgoyari spoke of the genesis of the BTC-IFAW-WTI relationship and how Manas has been revived since then. The meeting identified different hurdles and threats to the landscape, including encroachment.
The BTC Secretariat agreed to our suggestion of incorporating a chapter on Greater Manas in the curriculum of local school students. Once this gets the necessary approvals and is implemented, it will instill pride in children about their heritage and their home.
In addition, three executive members are now mulling creation of conservation reserves in their respective areas, and we were approached by Executive Member of Kachugaon Subharam Nazary to help address encroachment in his area.
“Non-profit organisations like IFAW-WTI are concerned about threats related to the World Heritage Site in our backyard and are bringing this up in fora like BTC Assembly,” said Borgoyari. “Necessary actions will be taken to mitigate threats to wildlife in the region.”
This is perhaps the first time such a meeting has been organised in this part of the country, but it will not be the last: The BTC Secretariat has called for IFAW-WTI to hold another meeting in the next six months to take stock of the progress and discuss further challenges to secure Greater Manas.
Visit the IFAW project page to learn more about IFAW and WTI community empowerment projects.
Article source: IFAW