| Deepor Beel |
March 22: Wildlife management in the city, which is under tremendous pressure, has received a boost with two range offices being added to Amchang and Deepor Beel wildlife sanctuaries under the Guwahati wildlife division.
Growing pressure of encroachment and increasing man-animal conflict has added to the woes of wildlife authorities, which have been crying for more manpower and improvement in infrastructure.
A senior official of the Guwahati wildlife division said for six years since the inception of Amchang wildlife sanctuary, it had only one range office at Bonda to look after and control the sanctuary.
The new range will be at Khanapara. For Bonda, the jurisdiction area will be 5,318 hectares of the sanctuary and for Khanapara, the jurisdiction will now be 2,546.1 hectares.
“This is actually good news for Amchang. It was almost impossible for one range office to look after the complete area on a daily basis,” the official said.
The Amchang wildlife sanctuary is under tremendous pressure from encroachers and forest officials have to be on their toes at all times.
“This was the first wildlife sanctuary for the city and should get priority for better management of wildlife,” the official said.
Of the 7,800 hectares of Amchang wildlife sanctuary, about 700 hectares are under encroachment.
“There has been no encroachment after it was declared a sanctuary but there are always attempts to encroach into and we have to be vigilant,” the official said.
The sanctuary has 44 species of mammals, including elephants, leopards, wild dogs and bison.
After the declaration of an additional range at Amchang, the existing staff and infrastructure of Guwahati afforestation range at 10th Mile, Jorabat, under central Assam afforestation division, Hojai, have been transferred and posted under the Guwahati wildlife division.
Besides Amchang, the office at Deepor Beel, which for so long functioned like a range office, has now been notified as one by the state. The Deepor Beel wildlife range with headquarters at Geetanagar has a jurisdiction of 410 hectares of the sanctuary.
Like the Khanapara wildlife range, the existing staff and infrastructure of Geetanagar range, Guwahati, under Assam state zoo division, has also been transferred and posted under the Guwahati wildlife division.
“Introduction of two new ranges will only increase the manpower which otherwise was one of the major problems for the sanctuary. More manpower is required for maintaining both the Amchang wildlife sanctuary and Deepor Beel. A total of 26 forest officials who are currently manning the sanctuaries is too low,” the official said.