JALUKBARI, Nov 11 - The city-based NGO, Save The Phantom, organised its second educational outreach programme at the GU Model High School, Jalukbari, recently. This is an ongoing project, officially titled �Leopard-human conflict mitigation through community participation in Guwahati Metro, Assam, India,� funded by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF).
The programme started with a drawing competition among students from classes v to vii and an extempore speech among students from classes viii to x. The drawing competition and extempore speech programme were supervised by project team members Bibekananda Kakoti and Kuldeep Dutta.
About 40 students took part in the extempore speech. Topics related to nature, environment and wildlife conservation were discussed. The students were given a fixed time to speak on certain subjects.
An interactive session was held in the school auditorium. The project head of Save the Phantom, Mridul Bora, Somoyita Sur, wildlife research scholar of Gauhati University and school teachers were present in the interactive session.
Apart from knowledge exchange and skill development programmes, the project also aims to organise 18 awareness camps in the �conflict� areas of Guwahati Metro to spread awareness and conflict management techniques and to provide a minimum level of education related to environment and wildlife conservation to the common people living in the remote �conflict� areas.
Volunteer teams will be formed to coordinate with the Forest department during emergency. Under this project, leaflets will be distributed regarding do�s and don�ts during a conflict and contact details of the forest officials and team members so that people can contact them during an emergency.
According to Mridul Bora, leopards have been living in the hills of Guwahati from the past. The conflicts began after people started building houses and offices on the hills. People should not panic in a conflict situation; if they wait patiently, the leopard is sure to return to where it came from. He added, �In conflict situations, people should rely on experts and contact the responsible authorities. They should not take the matter into their own hands.�