The Shillong Times | May 14, 2020
GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has directed the administration of five districts adjoining the Kaziranga National Park to ensure protection of wildlife from poaching and provide the animals adequate relief during flood.
Considering the setback faced by the tourism sector during the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown, Sonowal also asked the officials to prepare a plan to rejuvenate tourism at the Kaziranga National Park, declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The chief minister said this while reviewing preparation of Golaghat, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Biswanath and Karbi Anglong districts on wildlife protection during the forthcoming monsoon season in a meeting, held at Kaziranga in Golaghat district, on Tuesday.
To strengthen anti-poaching drive at the park famed for one-horned rhinoceros, the chief minister asked the district administration and the forest department to engage village headmen, tea garden sardars and people with strong grassroots connection living in the adjoining areas in the wildlife protection endeavours.
Mentioning that Kaziranga National Park (KNP) has global importance, Sonowal said that any untoward incident that takes place in the park draws attention of the people worldwide.
Noting that the Assam governments strong measures have led to considerable drop in the number of poaching at the park, Sonowal said fast track courts set up by Gauhati High Court as per the state governments request have so far convicted several poachers and handed them exemplary punishment. He observed that steps of this kind have instilled fear in the mind of poachers and left positive impact on wildlife protection.
He also stressed on the need to make the wildlife protection measures of the forest department more visible and directed the department to fill up all vacancies.
The forest department was further directed to carry out a survey to assess the impact of the highlands developed inside the park on the wildlife and its use by the animals during flood.
He also asked the park authorities to be prepared with adequate food stock so that it could be provided to the animals during flood.
In view of African swine fever infection reported in different parts of the state, the chief minister urged officials of the five districts to ensure that intermingling of domestic and wild pigs does not take place.
Due to African swine fever, movement of domestic pigs are restricted to stop the infection from spreading.