SILCHAR, Aug 6 - Lack of a rehabilitation centre for wild animals has become a major concern in southern Assam.
According to officials of the Cachar Forest Division, from hoolock gibbons to king cobra, from rare species of lizards to distinct owls, a number of wild animals have been captured from the woods of Cachar district and Barak Valley at large in the past few years sans any mechanism to readapt them.
“A number of animals and primates have been rescued from different locations of the valley. Recently, a reptile died after we captured it. A rehabilitation centre, much like the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) adjacent to Kaziranga National Park can help a great deal in addressing the issue urgently,” said Sunny Deo Choudhury, Cachar Divisional Forest Officer.
On the other hand, reacting on the issue, Minister of Forest and Environment Parimal Suklabaidya has said that his department has taken an initiative to come up with a holistic centre in Barak Valley to rehabilitate wild animals. Also, steps are being taken to construct a zoo which shall attract people for amusement amidst the rich natural diversity of the region.
“Barak Valley had the Sumatran Rhinos, rare species of monkeys and elephants together with a rich variety of fauna. We are planning for conservation and also thinking for providing entertainment for the people in the format of a zoo here. Suitable land in a congenial location is being sought for and experts from Mumbai and London are being called to share their valuable suggestions in shaping up the much-needed centre,” the Minister told The Assam Tribune.
On the other hand, sources in the Forest Department informed that the upcoming centre will have all facilities including a veterinary health centre, food processing unit etc., for the animals together with a nature interpretation centre as well.
Meanwhile, Neville Buck, section manager at the Portland Zoo in London has been invited to share a design of the proposed centre here. Buck shared his views saying that conservation of wildlife is necessary. There should be natural enclosures for the animals instead of prisons.
Mumbai-based naturalist Nayan Khanolkar is another expert who has been invited by the department to throw light on the preparatory arrangements. “It is high time that steps should be taken for establishing a wildlife rescue centre here. We shall be glad to assist the initiative in the best possible manner,” he added.
Noted environmentalist and academician, Prof Parthankar Choudhury expressed his happiness over the development saying that this was a much needed move for the greater interest of wildlife preservation in the region. “Once the initiative materialises, we shall have many trees planted for preservation as well. However, since the city has potential for expansion, the location of the zoo and the centre should be ideally be far away from urban humdrum,” Prof Choudhury maintained.