The tireless efforts of rangers of Assam’s Manas National Park to help conserve the tiger population has won special recognition at the 2021 IUCN-WCPA (International Union for Conservation of Nature – World Commission on Protected Areas) International Rangers Awards.

The Manas Tiger Team, consisting of 12 members, has been bestowed with the special honour of ‘Highly Commended’ along with 18 other national parks from across the world during a virtual award ceremony on Wednesday. Ten rangers were recognised for their conservations efforts worldwide.

These awards, developed through a collaboration between the IUCN WCPA, the International Ranger Federation, Global Wildlife Conservation, and Conservation Allies, aim to highlight and felicitate the extraordinary work that rangers do in protected and conserved areas worldwide.

Speaking with EastMojo, Amal Chandra Sarmah, MNP Director said, “The IUCN, WCPA- International Rangers Award to Manas National Park Ranger Team with special ‘Highly Commended’ certificate and a special recognition has not only boosted our officials and frontline staff and the whole Manas team in their efforts for better conservation and protection of Manas, but also put us in a more challenging task for better conservation, protection and management of Manas which we are happy to accept. We are confident and optimistic of doing better in the coming days.”

He added, “I congratulated all the members of Manas National Park Ranger Team which comprises of – Dipu Brahma, Raphael Narzary, Durga Kherkatary, Dahar Boro, Sanjit Basumatary, Akhil Haloi, Pranabjyoti Nath, Sujukhang Brahma, Hemanta Swargiary, Jagadish Basumatary, Kumar Basumatary and Dhanajay Brahma from the core of my heart and Manas family whom the IUCN WCPA-International Rangers Award has recognised with special ‘Highly Commended’ certificate award.”

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The National Park was in a concerning condition in the 1990s as the animal population had dwindled and poaching became rampant. In 2010, the tiger population was just 10, but with conservation efforts, the population went up to 30 in 2020. The park census is underway for 2021, but the Director said that around 10 more tigers have been found.

Likewise, the population for other animals like rhinos, wild buffaloes, bison, elephants etc has thrived too.

Along with the recognition, the team has been awarded $ 3,000 for the betterment of the park.

Sarmah said, 2016 IUCH Heritage Hero, Bibhuti Lahkar, a Guwahati-based conservationist had recomended a ranger from the park for the award, but they choose to recognise the entire rangers team.

In November 2020, Manas National Park (Manas Tiger Project) and Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan received the TX2 Conservation Excellence Award for 2020 by the Global Tiger Forum. TX2 stands for “Tigers times two”, signalling the goal to double the population of wild tigers by 2022.

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