Guwahati: The contribution of frontline forest staff in the field of tiger conservation in Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam during the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn praise from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), an official statement said here on Tuesday.

The work done by the staff has put the reserve in the running for the NTCA’s Bagh Rakshak award for 2021, it added.

The Inspector-General of Forests, Project Tiger, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Amit Mallick has appreciated the contribution made by frontline personnel of Manas Tiger Reserve in the field of tiger conservation, the statement said.

In a letter to the Field Director, Manas Tiger Project, Mallick expressed his admiration on behalf of the NTCA for the efforts of the forest frontline force at Manas Tiger Reserve during the extraordinary times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mallick added that the Manas Tiger Reserve is in the reckoning for the NTCA’s Bagh Rakshak award for 2021.

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As per phase-IV monitoring, the tiger population has increased to 48 this year under the Manas Tiger Project, the statement said.

Further stating that there has been a reduction in wildlife and forest offences, it added that in 2019, a total of 20 offenders were arrested, while the number of arrests in 2020 was 15.

In 2021, to date, two wildlife offenders have been arrested.

The Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve had bagged the CATS (Conservation Assured Tiger Standard) Accreditation Certificate on Global Tiger Day on July 29 this year.

It had also received the Global Tiger Conservation Excellence Award under Category 1×2 and Conservation Excellency 2020 – jointly awarded to Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan, and Manas Tiger Reserve, India, the statement said.

It had also bagged the Hemchand Mahindra Foundation’s Wildlife Warrior Award on April 3 this year, under which eight frontline staff were paid Rs 50,000 each.

Besides, Manas was awarded the IUCN-WCPA International Ranger Award for which 12 frontline protection personnel were conferred with highly commended certificates.

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