City Correspondent GUWAHATI, March 17 - A Calcutta-based wildlife activist and his wife are in the State as part of their worldwide tour aimed at creating mass awareness about tiger conservation.
Rathindra Nath Das and Gitanjali Das.
Rathindra Nath Das, a commerce graduate, and his wife Gitanjali Das, a Kuchipudi dance exponent, have come riding a motorbike with plans to visit some tiger habitats of Assam and also visit some schools located near these habitats, where they will organise awareness programmes on the need to conserve the majestic big cat, considered as a critically endangered animal across the globe.
“We started our journey on February 15 from the Calcutta Aranya Bhawan. In our journey we aim to cover 50 tiger reserves of India. After India, we will move to Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China, Russia, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
“In these countries, we will organise awareness campaigns on tiger conservation in the respective capital areas. Our journey is expected to culminate in Calcutta by June 2020,” Das told The Assam Tribune. The couple has been supported by the South Asian Forum for Environment, an NGO working for conservation of the environment, along with ethical wildlife lovers on Facebook, the Asian Wildlife Photographers’ Club and another organisation named Exploring Nature.
“It is for the third time that I’ve undertaken such a journey. Earlier, I had completed a trip in West Bengal and Assam with the message ‘Rhino horn is not a medicine”. Then I had gone out for another all-India trip with the message of environment conservation. During these trips, I have seen that various developmental works are rapidly destroying our environment, which we have to control at any cost in the interest of our future generation; because, for a balanced ecosystem, every species needs to survive. So, this time, we started our journey with the message of tiger conservation,” Das said.
Terming the striped big cat as the sole protector of the forest, Das said, “If the forest areas and wildlife remain safe, then our life will also become comfortable. So, I am trying to create awareness on this issue. Moreover, conservation of Nature is our primary responsibility as per the Constitution of India.”
The couple has already visited the Manas National park and organised some awareness meets with the students of schools located in the areas adjacent to the forest lands.
“Our target is high school students because it is a very critical stage of life, where we can shape a good citizen with a pro-environment mind,” he said. “From Guwahati, we will move to the Orang National Park and then visit the Nameri Tiger Reserve. From Nameri we will go to Arunachal Pradesh and then again come back to Assam to visit Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong,” he added.