Forest guards patrol on motorbikes in Manas National Park. Picture by Aaranyak
Guwahati, April 23: The guards of Manas National Park have now got motorbikes to beef up patrolling deeper into the park.
Ten motorbikes were recently handed over to the guards to easily navigate the difficult areas of the park, particularly in the Bhuyanpara Range area.
The motorbikes were formally inducted with Anindya Swargiary, council head of the department, forest and environment, Bodoland Territorial Council, flagging them off.
Aaranyak, a wildlife NGO, has taken the initiative under the Integrated Tiger Conservation Programme of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with partners like BTC forest department, Panthera, Wildlife Conservation Trust of India and Awely of France.
Altogether 20 youths, working at the park under the forest department and the NGOs Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society, Manas Bhuyapara Ecotourism Society and Agrang Ecotourism Society, have undergone a three-week training to improve their patrolling skills.
The youths have also received the knowledge on GPS usage, compass navigation, map reading, basic combat and first-aid skills.
"Earlier, we used to patrol on foot and could cover distances only as much our feet would allow. Now that we have motorbikes, we are better equipped for detailed patrolling across the park," said forester Mrinmoy Hazarika.
"Manas has the potential to double its tiger population in 10 years and that motivates us to improve capacity-building of the forest staff. This will ensure that human imprint in the park is reduced through efficient patrolling. We thank our donors for improving the infrastructure that will strengthen surveillance by the frontline forest staff," said Firoz Ahmed, head, tiger research and conservation division, Aaranyak.
"Aaranyak had stood with us when Manas had fallen through bad times. It is still actively engaged to improve the conservation scenario of Manas. I am sure we will restore Manas back to its past glory," said Swargiary.
Manas field director H.K. Sharma said trained manpower would deliver their best and the results of the new initiative would be available soon.