GUWAHATI, March 25 � Manas Ever Welfare Society (MEWS), WWF and the Manas National Park authorities have joined hands for bringing the fringe communities of Manas National Park closer to the conservation movement.
In the latest of such an initiative, households from four village hamlets spread among two revenue villages from the fringe of Basbari range of Manas NP were provided support for setting up piggery units by providing piglets and feeds recently.
This support has been extended through a project aimed at establishing sustainable livelihood in the fringe of Manas NP developed by MEWS and WWF-India and supported by the SEED Division, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India for a period of three years.
The handing over of the support was done at the campus of MEWS at Basbari where AC Das, Park Director attended as special invitee and also handed over the items to the beneficiaries. The function was also attended by officials from Aaranyak, ATREE and WWF.
Prior to the programme, an intensive training for the beneficiaries was organized for providing them the basic knowledge of pig rearing. Dr Prabhat Basumatary and Dr Dulajeet Pathak were the main resource persons involved in providing the training.
�Since 2011, MEWS and WWF-India along with other partners have been working to spread awareness on conservation among the fringe villagers of Manas and also to uplift the livelihood of the marginalized families there, especially as a strategy under the IRV2020 programme. At the core of the strategy lies the realization that getting the support of the fringe communities is critical to conservation in Manas,� Amit Sharma, Senior Rhino Coordinator of WWF-India said.
The livelihood strengthening efforts included a varied package of activities like supporting dairy farming, piggery, agriculture of cash crops like pineapple, ginger, etc.
From the experiments it can be gathered that in that area individual support yields better results than group-based support, especially with regard to livestock rearing. Till date MEWS has been able to successfully provide support to 40 families for rearing of pigs as a livelihood enhancement option.
Further, for ensuring safety of the villagers moving along the southern boundary of Manas and also to facilitate the park patrolling staff, ten solar street lights have been installed along the southern boundary road of the park under Basbari range jointly by MEWS and WWF.
�All these have been received positively by the fringe villagers, and the plan is to continue such activities and also to build upon the goodwill of the people for the conservation success in Manas National Park,� Sharma said.