GUWAHATI: The Assam government is mulling steps for inclusion of wildlife and forest conservation lessons in the textbooks read by students of lower and upper primary classes.

Addressing the state-level function of the 68th Wildlife Week here on Friday, Assam environment and forest minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said steps were being contemplated in consultation with the education department to include lessons on forest and wildlife protection in the textbooks of lower and upper primary classes. 

Wildlife experts and forest officials have in the past emphasised education on forest conservation from the grassroots, including the need for children to understand the significance of wildlife and ecology protection from their formative years.

“Assam has always been blessed with abundant wildlife, forests and biodiversity. But modern times have posed a challenge to effectively protect our greenery and wildlife. For that, the forest department must inculcate discipline and high work ethic to reforest those areas that we have lost due to human habitation so that man-animal conflicts can be reduced,” Patowary said

Calling for innovation and research based action from the forest department, the minister urged the officials to work towards increasing forest cover in the state.

He also advocated planting fruit trees like bananas within the forest lands so that the animals do not need to come out in search of food. 

The minister also informed about the series of activities being planned for reforestation of lost forest areas by rehabilitating the human residents from there to other areas with adequate compensation.

Reiterating the state budget’s target of increasing Assam’s forest cover to 38 percent from the existing 36 percent, Patowary urged all levels of officers of the forest department to work in this direction dedicatedly.

He also said that species such as the Greater Adjutant Stork, vulture, etc are on the verge of extinction because of human actions and therefore called for concerted efforts to generate public awareness in this regard.

The forest minister also distributed prizes among the winners of photography, drawing and quiz competitions organised among school students on the 68th Wildlife Week. 

He also felicitated several forest officials at the programme for their dedicated service.

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