TODAY -

Signs of thriving wildlife in Kuilong forest
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: November 03, 2021 -



VISUALS from a handful of trap cameras installed in the forest near Kuilong Part-II village in Tamenglong district confirming presence of animals, including some endangered species, in the wild is certain to both lift the spirit as well as create anxiety among the wild conservationists in addition to posing as a challenge to the forest department authorities to ensure protection of the existing wildlife.

While it is heartening to spot some animal species considered to be on the verge of extinction, there is strong possibility that the images provided by the forest department officials for sharing with the public might be enticing to those who make a living out of poaching endangered species or the locals who relish bush meat.

As the forest, where the camera traps are installed and the pictures of endangered species captured, is yet to be declared a wildlife sanctuary, there is no formal restriction on venturing into the said areas which means that anybody can access and indulge in illegal acts.

Had the camera traps snapped bigger carnivores roaming then at-least the locals might be reluctant to enter the forest and consequently help the efforts to conserve wildlife in their natural habitat.

But the electronic gadgets, actually installed to study what species slayed some cattle of the villagers some months back, showing only wild animals considered as delicacies would be mouth-watering for the local hunters.

On the brighter side, presence of the endangered species indicates that Kuilong area villagers have been preserving the forests unlike in various other parts of the state where illegal logging has stripped off nature's bounty to mankind.

Such commendable consciousness on the part of the Kuilong villagers despite being deprived of worldly comforts should be taken advantage of by the forest department to proactively involve them in saving the forest and enabling the wildlife to thrive so as to protect the ecosystem.

The camera traps, which is essentially a digital camera connected to the infrared sensor which can see warm moving objects like animals, laid in the Kuiiong area forest providing visuals of the endangered species should spur the forest department authorities to chalk up wildlife conservation policies suited to environment and livelihood activities of the local communities.

Under no circumstance should the forest officials live under the impression that publication of reports about existence of the endangered species through the mass media would encourage the villagers to become overnight protectors of the wildlife.

It is also desired that instead of waiting for the policy makers to decide on the next step, the Tamenglong Forest Department takes the initiative to create awareness among the local villagers that preserving the forest and ensuring survival of wildlife in their natural habitat would be beneficial to the local communities.

Among others, involving the village leaders and elders to create awareness that healthy ecosystems would be helpful in survival of the locals, get enough food to eat and make a living might go a long way in preventing the existing species from disappearing or falling in number.

As manpower shortage has been the usual excuse for the Forest Department whenever posers are raised over illegal logging and wildlife poaching, the local communities need to be encouraged to play their part in ensuring their own well-being through protecting the animals and the ecosystems.



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