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Green Corridor Champions root for ‘Right of Passage’ for elephants in Assam
Kaziranga National Park, Assam, February 14, 2017: Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Elephant Family, in a joint venture with Duarbagori Cooperative Society Limited (DBCSL) have developed a cadre of local individuals called the Green Corridor Champions (GCC) to help secure three important elephant corridors – Amguri, Kanchanjuri and Deosur – in the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape.

In coordination with the WTI-Elephant Family team, the GCCs are undertaking awareness campaigns to build a social momentum for the protection of these elephant corridors among communities that reside in and around them. In addition, they are working to sensitise developmental agencies and local authorities so that no activities detrimental to animal movement take place in the corridors.

On February 10, the DBCSL’s Green Corridor Champions and the WTI-Elephant Family team organised a ‘Right of Passage’ awareness programme at Kuthori Higher Secondary School, Kaliabor, for students from fringe areas of the three elephant corridors. About a hundred students from Class 1 to Class 10 attended the programme. Also in attendance were the Magistrate of Kaliabor Mr Writu Pallav Baruah; the Range Officer – Bagori Mr K K Deka; DBSCL Secretary and CEO Mr Ataur Rahman; and the principal and teachers of Kuthori Higher Secondary School.

A student participating in the art competition that was held as part of the ‘Right of Passage’ awareness programme

An art competition based on the themes of ‘Elephant’, ‘Elephant in Nature’ and ‘Human-Elephant Conflict’ was organised during the event. A debate competition on the topic ‘Industrialization does not Extinguish Environment’ was also held, as was a quiz. Competition winners were each presented with a gift and a certificate of appreciation at the end of the event.

The Magistrate of Kaliabor Mr Writu Pallav Baruah thanked the DBCSL and WTI-Elephant Family teams for conducting the awareness programme. “Students and local youth can play an important role in the conservation of elephants and other wildlife”, he said; “I strongly feel that it is incumbent upon the youth to foster peaceful co-existence between wildlife and humans.”

Mr Ataur Rahman, the DBCSL Secretary and CEO, declared that a series of such awareness programmes was being planned with the WTI-Elephant Family team, to sensitise not just students but all members of local communities residing in and around elephant corridors.

Mr Ataur Rahman, DBCSL Secretary and CEO, addresses the gathering

The programme concluded with Mr Dilip Deori, Project Lead of the Karbi Anglong Conservation Project, briefing the students about the GCC concept and thanking the DBCSL and school administration for their support in organising the awareness programme. He underscored that it was the students who would be future custodians of elephants and other wildlife in the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape, and that it was their duty to assist in the conservation of these species.

WTI plans to tie up with local organisations like DBCSL and form GCCs all across India, thereby institutionalising the involvement of community-based organisations in protecting and securing elephant corridors. The GCCs would work in partnership with WTI to sensitise local communities about the importance of corridors and, with the judicious and appropriate use of social, economic and technical interventions, and the vital support of local governments, help in monitoring and securing these corridors. 

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