One day community workshop, Shergaon

          An one day community workshop on “Benefits of Wildlife Conservation” was organized by the Shergaon Forest Division, on the occasion of National Wildlife Week  in the Shergaon Community Hall on 11th October, 2011 with the objective to understand the composition of wildlife in the region, their value and threats faced and to instill a sense of pride over the resources supported by communities; to stress the need to manage our wildlife resources by understanding the benefits of wildlife conservation and to evolve a participatory action plan for better conservation based on traditional and modern knowledge. The workshop was attended by Gaon buras, Government officials, VFMC members and members of the public.

          Umesh Srinivasan, National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore introduced the audience to the wildlife of western Arunachal Pradesh, their value and threats.  For example, only 7 pairs of the babbler bird Bugun liocichla, has been reported in the eagle nest wildlife sanctuary and this bird is not found anywhere else. Some other wildlife commonly found in this region are flying squirrel, golden cat, laughing thrust, parrot billed, sun bird, false cobra, krait, loris etc. Hunting posed a major threat especially to the larger mammals whose breeding rate is not very fast. 

          K Mazumdar, WWF-India threw light on the benefits of wildlife conservation especially the tangible benefits apart from the environmental advantages. He stressed on the close association of tribal people with the nature and wildlife resources. Loss of wildlife would lead to loss of certain customary practices. For example, if the hornbill gets extinct, then how would the tribal people decorate their headgears? Conservation could be done through people’s participation through Community Conserved Areas (CCA) by initiating community based tourism activities like bird watching, trekking, home stays, local guides, etc. He explained the CCA model at Zemithang, the development of facilities, income options generated and economic impacts of the project. Conservation initiatives like high altitude wetland conservation were also explained to villagers. 

          Millo Tasser, ACF, Shergaon Forest Division documented the local wildlife in local Sherdukphen language through a delightful interactive session. Pictures of the animals were shown to the audience; their unique characteristics explained and on the basis of which the audience were requested to identify the animals in their local language. The villagers could identify most of the animals but only few birds. Especially the smaller birds remained unidentified.

          K.S. Jayachandran, Divisional Forest Officer, Shergaon Forest Division talked about main aspects of the Wildlife Protection Act as well as the government schemes on conservation such as Sacred Groves, unique eco systems like wetlands, community reserves and Compensatory Afforestation linked Village Forest Reserves (VFR). Villagers were interested in availing the benefits of different schemes discussed and an action plan was devised regarding framing of proposals. 

          Ms. M. Taipodia Jini, Circle Officer, Shergaon moderated discussions about the reasons for reduction of forests, wildlife commonly seen and those not seen nowadays, wildlife conflicts, local laws against hunting and its implementation and the various traditional practices which conserved forests and wildlife. 

                  An exhibition of paintings was also conducted on the sidelines of the workshop through painting competitions conducted jointly by Shergaon Forest Division and WWF-India, Tezpur focusing on wildlife and its conservation for school children of Rupa, Singchung, Tenga, Shergaon and Kalaktang. The list of winners in the painting competition can be accessed here.

Please click here to download the proceedings of the workshop.