GUWAHATI, April 23 - In a first-of-its-kind development, tiger conservation at Manas National Park received a big boost with the launch of motorbike patrolling.
This has added teeth to the Park�s security, as forest guards have started extensive and intricate patrolling deep inside the jungles as well as along the porous border of the famed tiger habitat.
�Earlier we patrolled on foot and could cover distances only as much our feet would allow. Now that we have motorbikes, we feel better equipped at detailed patrolling of the Park,� Forester Mrinmoy Hazarika says.
Trainee Ansuma Brahma adds, �We have patrolled 995 kms of the Bhuyanpara Range in just two weeks. This has been made possible only because of the motorbikes.�
Ten motorbikes were handed over to the Park authorities recently for facilitating smooth navigation in the difficult terrain of Manas, especially in the Bhuyanpara Range. The motorbikes were formally inducted with the flagging off by Anindya Swargowari, Council Head of the Department, Forest and Environment, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
The initiative was expedited by Aaranyak and its partners to complement the long-term investment in tiger conservation by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which has been supporting Manas since the launch of Project Tiger in 1973. The NTCA supports 49 such Tiger Reserves across India.
�Manas has the potential to increase its tiger population to double in 10 years and that motivates us to support capacity building of forest staff to
ensure that human imprint in the Park is reduced through efficient patrol. We thank our donors, IUCN-KfW for supporting such infrastructure to improve patrol by the frontline forest staff,� says Dr M Firoz Ahmed, Head, Tiger Research and Conservation Division, Aaranyak.
Twenty young and energetic men working for the Park under the Forest Department and the NGOs Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society, Manas Bhuyapara Ecotourism Society and Agrang Ecotourism Society, went through three weeks of rigorous training to improve their patrol skills.
Apart from new motorbike patrol skills, the trainees also learned use of GPS and radio handling, compass navigation, map reading, basic combat and first aid skills, crime scene investigation and animal attack action, etc.
Expressing his team�s unflinching support for the cause of tiger conservation at Manas, RS Trivedi, Commandant, SSB, promised access to basic military knowledge and resources as and when needed.
HK Sharma, Field Director, Manas Tiger Reserve, observed that the trained manpower of 20 was going to deliver their best with the support being received from the NTCA and the Manas Tiger Conservation Programme initiated in partnership with leading organisations of the country and abroad. He added that the results would be available soon from the new initiative and efforts.
The MTCP is a joint initiative of the BTC Forest Department, Aaranyak, Panthera, Wildlife Conservation Trust of India and Awely of France. Sponsored by the Integrated Tiger Conservation Program of IUCN, the programme is also working closely with Bhutanese partners in a larger landscape called the Trans-boundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA).