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Forest officer Chukhu Loma

Beak reprieve for hornbill

The endangered hornbill, the state bird of Arunachal Pradesh, has been given a fresh lease of life.

The beak of the hornbill is traditionally used to adorn the headgear of Nyishi and Wancho tribes living in the eastern and western parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

When Chukhu Loma, a senior forest officer, conceived the idea of using fibre beaks instead of those procured after killing the endangered hornbill in 2000, he drew the wrath of the tribal community to which he belonged. But he continued undeterred.

Loma has set up an artificial beak-manufacturing unit at his residence in Doimukh and the Centre has agreed to release Rs 10 lakh for the project.

The hornbill headgear

The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (SWF) and National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), New Delhi, have also supported his endeavour by backing the Arunachal Wildlife Nature Foundation (AWNF), an NGO comprising the residents of Seijosa village.

Loma’s hard work and perseverance has paid off by ensuring the conservation of the hornbill, as well as the culture of the tribals. The estimated population of the bird, 500 in 2002, has now crossed 2,000. Chukhu Loma had faced opposition from the Nyishis, including the tribe’s MLAs.


Project rhino

Manas National Park is gearing up to welcome new inmates.

Twenty rhinos will be relocated from Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora sanctuary by December, under the Rhino Vision 2020 project, which aims at increasing the rhino population.

To start with, the authorities are setting up 13 anti-poaching camps, most of them on the western side of the national park through which poachers generally enter the park. Construction of new roads for more efficient movement of forest guards is also in full swing.

Five NGOs are working to ensure that the rhinos do not fall prey to poaching.

The NGOs are helping build up an intelligence network gathering information regarding poaching activities, as the park would first need a foolproof anti-poaching network for the safety of the new arrivals.

A. Sargayari, a forest official, said Manas has witnessed enough of “blunders” in the past but “we are making every effort to ensure a better future for the park”.


Crusader

Nazma Ahmed was a silent crusader at work until she won the Janasanskriti Award, 2007.

The award that the employee of the chief minister’s office received from the Union minister for planning and development, Girija Vyas, in New Delhi early this month has not only been a recognition of her efforts. It has also helped generate goodwill for the chief minister and the government.

Nazma, who is in her late thirties, has been espousing the cause of the downtrodden, particularly abandoned children. She has been helping the children of SOS village, Haji Musafirkhana, and has also been championing the cause of victims of domestic violence. “Even chief minister Tarun Gogoi has appreciated her work. This will motivate other people to do good for society,” a source in the CMO said.

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