D’ering Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary, May 24, 2013: To help the forest staff at the frontline in D’ering Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh in their duties, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) equipped them with field kits under a Rapid Action Project (RAP) supported by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF).
A total of 40 sets of field kits, each comprising a backpack, winter jacket, rain suit, sleeping bag and cap were handed over to the frontline staff last week. WTI with DSWF support has previously provided a boat for patrolling, as well as support for ten local watchers to help prevent poaching last year during a traditional festival (Araan), when hunting is at its highest.
Tashi Mize, Divisional Forest Officer, Pasighat, and administrative head of the sanctuary said, “We are happy at the consistent support being provided to us by WTI. With field conditions the way they are, every single kit is going to make a lot of difference in helping the staff do their work. The boat which was given last time had tremendously helped us in catching a lot of poachers and the kits will definitely assist the frontline staff in their patrolling.”
Similar efforts of equipping frontline forest staff in other sanctuaries and national parks have taken place right from Dachigam National Park in Kashmir to Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. “Frontline staff across the country face tremendous and numerous challenges in their duties. These kits are basic requirements that could improve their work conditions at least a little,” said Sunil Kyarong, the regional head of Arunachal Pradesh for WTI.
A tremendous shift has been noticed in the attitude of the people in the sanctuary ever since hunting was banned in the area. A journalist went on record to say that since the boat was brought and people recruited to help keep a watch out for hunters, there has been a significant decline in the number of poachers spotted in the sanctuary.
“It is heartening to see such a difference being made through small RAP grants. Equipping frontline forest staff under RAPs, as and when asked for by the forest departments, has been a long standing priority for Wildlife Trust of India. D’ering Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary has a rich biological diversity including rare or threatened fauna like tigers, Gangetic dolphins, Bengal floricans among many other species in the 190 square km sanctuary. We are pleased that with the constant support of DSWF, we have been able to contribute in so many ways to help them preserve their natural heritage,” said Radhika Bhagat, Head of Wild Aid, WTI.