BARPETA, Jan 6 – Though the Manas National Park-cum -Tiger Project is gradually reviving and is all set to regain its past glory yet the presence of unwanted elements within the park is a cause of concern for the authorities. According to the information provided by Anindya Swargiary, Director of the Tiger Project they have traced a number of poachers within the park during the last four months.
Talking to this correspondent in his office at Barpeta Road in Barpeta district on Friday morning Swargiary informed that they had installed a number of cameras within the park with the sole purpose to count the number of tigers within it in November last year.
These cameras are installed every year for this purpose for about three months in some strategic areas so that images of animals captured in different areas and at their different angles so as to identify them from each other of the same species easily. When footage of these cameras was checked they were shocked to see movement of armed poachers at several locations of the park. The most unfortunate happening is that poachers also could locate the cameras and as many as fifteen cameras were lifted by them. As a result the process of tiger census in the park may not be completed this year.
However, he stated that they will not bow down to these unsocial elements and will try to recapture the entire scene with new vigour within a short period. "Though no major incidents have happened for the last six months poachers are still active" Swargiary said and added that the authority will leave no stone unturned to prevent any untoward incident which can fetch bad name to the park. He further informed that he had already directed the forces engaged in the Panbari range where majority of the poachers has been located to ambush them as soon as they see them. Besides all the machineries in the Bhuyapara range have also been alerted for a possible onslaught against the enemies of the park.
The WWF representative Deba Kumar Dutta also expressed the similar view when he talked to this correspondent a few days back. WWF is one of the major stakeholders of the India Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020) and is actively engaged in the park with the sole aim of protection of this World Heritage Site. They not only provide logistic support to the park but also provide manpower and money for conservation.
Dutta apprehended that if any kind of activity relating to poaching takes place it will be a major problem as far as funding by the International Donor Agencies is concerned. So they are worried about the presence of the poachers within the park.
It may be mentioned here that as many as eighteen rhinos from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaziranga National Park have been translocated to Manas under the ambitious project of IRV 2020. One of them has borne a calf last year. Besides that there are four rehabilitated rhinos. But unfortunately two tranlocated adult rhinos were killed by poachers during the last two years. So the authorities have become more cautious to protect the famous one horned rhino. They have urged upon all including the villagers around the park to cooperate in the process so that the rejuvanating park regains its full health as soon as possible.