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Rainwater harvest project in Gibbon - Project aimed at preventing animals from straying

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  • Published 25.04.12

Jorhat, April 24: The forest department is taking up a project to harvest rainwater from three rain-fed channels that flow through Gibbon wildlife sanctuary from the hills in neighbouring Nagaland under Mariani forest range here.

Almost every winter, water sources inside the sanctuary on the south bank of the Brahmaputra, about 28km south-east of here, dry up.

Doria Ali Jan, Meleng Jan and Cheni Jan — the channels, which are tributaries of the Bhogdoi river and are the main sources of water for the denizens of the park — dry up during winter forcing the animals to stray out of the sanctuary for water.

The 20 square km sanctuary is home to seven species of primates, many of which fall under the endangered category. Animals, particularly deer, elephants and leopards stray outside the forest in search of water.

The sanctuary is surrounded by 10 tea gardens and over 15 villages and, hence, animals are in danger of being attacked when they stray.

Divisional forest officer (Jorhat) N.K. Malakar told The Telegraph here today that Rs 6 lakh has been sanctioned by the government to construct three anicuts (small dam-like structures) in the middle of each channel.

This would help in the storage of water during the rainy season inside the sanctuary by preventing it from flowing out of the forest area and only the excess water crossing the concrete wall structure will flow out of the sanctuary.

Malakar said water stored in the channels would be of much use for the wildlife during the dry spell of about four to five months during winter.

He said anicuts would be constructed in the compartment numbers 2, 3 and 4, as out of the five compartments in which the forest has been divided, water scarcity is the most in these.

He said few years back, two anicuts were constructed along the border between compartment numbers 2 and 3 and numbers 4 and 5 and it has turned out to be beneficial during winter.

Apart from the seven species of primates — hoolock gibbon, capped langur, pig-tailed macaque, stump-tailed macaque, Assamese macaque, rhesus macaque and slow loris — the sanctuary also has several species of deer, leopards, elephants, snakes and birds. Among reptiles and amphibians, python, monitor lizard, Indian roofturtle, bull frog, golden frogs are also found in the forest.

The DFO said for the safety of the denizens of the sanctuary, which is in the process of being declared an eco-sensitive zone, tea estates in the surrounding areas of the sanctuary have been asked not to use pesticides and insecticides that might threaten wildlife.

“As water through big drains from the garden passes into the forest, if the toxic waste from the gardens gets mixed with the channel water, then there might be a disaster,” the DFO said.

He said the garden authorities have said they have been using pesticides and insecticides, prescribed by the Tocklai Experimental Station, which were non-toxic in nature.