CORRESPONDENT DIMAPUR, March 12 - State foresters underwent a two-day training course on enforcement of wildlife laws in Nagaland. They also received training to tackle wildlife crimes and trade, and on the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and simulation exercises in investigating crime scenes and drafting wildlife offence reports.
Trainers at the capacity building workshop on combating wildlife trafficking in Dimapur. – Photo: Correspondent
The training programme, organised by the Nagaland Forest Department, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and the Wildlife Conservation Society India at the Forest Office complex here, concluded today.
Nagaland Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Satya Prakash Tripathi, in his keynote address, highlighted the historical background of consumption of wildlife meat by the people. He noted that the Naga people are increasingly coming forward and standing up for wildlife conservation even though the Naga customary practices involved hunting of wildlife.
Elaborating on the difficulties in implementation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 in Nagaland, Tripathi called for taking the people into confidence by helping them in declaring their community conservation areas into community reserve so that they can benefit on a sustained basis.
He said the unique landholding system is in place in Nagaland because of Article 371(A) of the Constitution wherein 88 per cent of forests in the State are privately owned by individuals or communities with the State Government having little control over them.
However, a number of communities have come out to help in the conservation efforts, he said. Tripathi said, “Today, the State has a total of 57 community reserves with the State Government declaring them protected as per Section 36(C) of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972,” he added.
Tripathi said the State Forest Department is trying its best to protect and conserve wildlife, but rued the limited funds made available to the department.
“We are answerable to the Supreme Court, High Court, National Green Tribunal and other national agencies, but we have a big problem because there is little fund for enforcement,” he said.
He lauded the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and Wildlife Conservation Society, Bangalore, for taking up the training course. He hoped that the trainees benefited by understanding various provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 through interaction with the trainers of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The Principal Secretary of the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department said there are perceptional changes in the mind of people during the last five-six years regarding protection and conservation of forest and wildlife.
He asked the trainees to know how to register a case against an offender under different sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. He appreciated the efforts of the Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Trust, led by Banuo Haralu, for its role in conservation of wildlife in general and Amur falcons in particular in the State.
The regional head of the Wildlife Conservation Society, North Eastern Region, and former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of Assam, Dev Prakash Bankhwal, outlined the importance of forest and wildlife and said every species has a crucial role in an ecosystem.
“We have to adjust ourselves within natural laws which are fixed and cannot be changed,” Bankhwal stressed.
Lauding the efforts of the Nagaland Forest Department in declaring 57 community reserves under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, he stressed the need of having community areas network in the State.
Managing Director of the Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Trust, Banuo Haralu, called for regular interaction or communication of the forest field officers on conservation matter with the communities. She also stressed the need of active participation of women in all activities related to forest and wildlife.