A delegation of Indian Forest Service officers (trainees) Rahul Jhajhria, Pema Thinley, and Shubham visited Kaziranga during June 11-17 to learn about conservation efforts in Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Landscape as well as how Aaranyak, a research-driven, premier biodiversity conservation organisation, engages communities in natural resource conservation through Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM).
As part of the visit, the trio met Ramesh Gogoi, the DFO of Kaziranga National Park & Tiger Reserve, and discussed the park’s diversity, and management practices in presence of Dr Dipankar Lahkar, Dr Arif Hussain and Dr Jayanta Kumar Roy from Aaranyak.
“Also, they visited Aaranyak’s Field Station in Kohora, where they interacted with team members. While Dr Dipankar Lahkar and Arif Hussain talked about their experiences from Manas and Kaziranga National Parks respectively. Dr Jayanta Roy gave a brief overview of Aaranyak’s ongoing activities in the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Landscape. The team was also briefed by Dr Bibhab Kr Talukdar, Secretary General & CEO of Aaranyak, about the current situation and difficulties surrounding wildlife conservation and networking among stakeholders” as stated through a press communique of Aaranyak.
The officers took part in a ‘Village Walk’ guided by Aaranyak’s Sarlongjon Teron and Bhargavee Rava in order to gain an understanding on the local culture and landscape, and dynamics of Kohora River Basin (KRB). They visited an agroforestry model plot in the village, as well as community resource center of Aaranyak, where senior official Dr Jayanta Kumar Sarma interacted with the team and briefed on the strategic aspects of community mobilization and engagement along with approach CBNRM for biodiversity conservation, livelihood security. Mr Sarma mentioned about strategic approach of marketing of community products and how Forest Department collaborates with non-profits for community engagement in biodiversity conservation and leverage from line departments through collaboration.
As part of their eco-tourism exposure, they took part in an exciting trek called ‘Ingnam Kengkam’. Aaranyak’s Deepika Chhetri and Leenthoi Laishram accompanied them, visited a jhum plot to gain a deeper understanding of jhum cultivation and ecorestoration activities initiated by the jhum practitioners and Aaranyak.
Following their visit to Golaghat Forest Division, they discussed about human elephant conflict with DFO Susil Kumar Thakuria, visited Bogidhola Tea Estate, and Kalioni LP School to see the community operated solar fence facilitating coexistence and interacted with village communities at Bokial. Aaranyak’s Niranjan Bhuyan coordinated the programme.
Finally, the team took part in an outreach event designed for students, ‘Rhino Goes to School’ at Mohuramukh High School. Through presentations on rhinos, discussions about local flora and fauna,
interactions, and an open quiz, Aaaranyak’s Arif Hussain gave a broad exposure to the team on sensitizing students about rhino conservation in this rhino bearing area.