Villagers must help to maintain ‘zero rhino poaching’ in Pobitora WLS: Forest official
Villagers must help to maintain ‘zero rhino poaching’ in Pobitora WLS: Forest official

Guwahati: The support of fringe villagers is crucial if the laudable eight-year trend of “zero rhino poaching’ has to continue in respect of Assam’s Pobitora Wild Life Sanctuary (WLS), where the density of one-horned rhino population is highest on the planet.

This was highlighted by Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Guwahati Wildlife Division Jayashree Naiding, who was addressing a sensitization programme organised by Aaranyak, in collaboration with Pobitora WLS authority, for local villagers of Pobitora, Morigaon Police, and Village Defence Organisations (VDOs).

The programme was organised at Mayong in Morigaon district of Assam on Sunday.

The poaching of rhinos in India has always been a major problem in respect of conservation of the species besides posing a threat to national security because of the prevalent vicious collaboration among rhino poachers, rhino horn traders, drug lords, insurgent and arms smugglers.

In spite of the grave situation, Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has emerged as a prominent rhino hub due to the continuous and coordinated efforts of the forest department, law enforcement agencies, local communities, and non-governmental organisations working in the region.

DFO Naiding also flagged off various provisions of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and sought cooperation from locals to ensure that Pobitora continues to maintain zero rhino poaching trend in years to come.

Attending the workshop, the Range Officer of Pobitora WLS, Nayan Das, underscored the importance of well-informed local communities to safeguard the area around the WLS.

Dr. Bibhab Talukdar, CEO of Aaranyak, praised forest and police officials’ efforts to stop rhino poaching in Pobitora and expressed gratitude to Gaonburhas (village heads) of the fringe villages and local villagers for their support in rhino conservation.

During the current wave of flood in and around Pobitora WLS, some flood-hit rhinos may take shelter in fringe villages and Dr Talukdar appealed to local villagers for their support to protect such flood-hit rhinos.

Aaranyak’s Sanjeeb Bezbaruah played a key role in organising this sensitization meeting with support from David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF).

Also read | Flood situation critical, Assam CM orders air dropping food, essentials

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