Respected President and dear members,
On behalf of the executive committee, I most heartily welcome you all to the 37th Annual General Meeting of Kaziranga Wildlife Society. At the outset, I most sincerely appreciate the guidance from our advisers and executive members and extend my gratitude to all of you for smooth completion of this term.
Before presenting the annual report, I would like to remember our departed members--Late Dr Balit Kumar Deka and Apurva Kumar Das and pray for eternal peace of their soul.
KWS with the core objectives--to protect, preserve and propagate nature, wildlife and environment -- has a crucial role to play and today I feel happy that I could represent KWS in a host of important activities and discussions concerning nature and wildlife. The Society has some calendar events and we, from the beginning of our term, tried to plan out these events/programmes involving students so that those become more result-oriented. We are really happy that students and educational institutions have become partners in our awareness campaigns for conservation of flora and fauna. I must thank each of you for your help, guidance, cooperation and contribution--we could carry out a number of fruitful activities even with limited resources. Last December, as part of our Foundation Day celebration we embarked on an awareness drive in a bid to minimize man-elephant conflict in the greater Numaligarh area. Our team comprising Padum Borthakur, Kali Prasad Buragohain, Rudra Goswami, Jayanta Kumar Das and myself from KWS along with Pranab Saikia and Samarjit Sarma, journalists and Dr Satya Dutta Choudhury hold interaction programmes with villagers of affected villages at Kacharigaon, Purajanghal and No.1 and No.2 Napathar in the greater Numaligarh area on December 21-22, 2016. We tried to share our experiences from the Udalguri district in dealing with wild elephants and shared some ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s with the affected community that could be of help to minimize conflict.
On the occasion of World Wetlands Day on February 2, Kaziranga Wildlife Society in collaboration with the Department of Geography, Cotton College and WWF-India organized a day-long programme in the Conference Hall of Cotton College. The programme was inaugurated by Dr Nirada Devi, Principal of Cotton College. The symposium was chaired by Indrajit Dutta, former president of KWS. Dr Pradip Sharma delivered the key note address on the Wetland Day theme of 2017. Prof Parimal Bhattacharyya, former PCCF-Wildlife, Assam Mohan Chandra Malakar, DFO, Guwahati Wildlife Division Pradipta Baruah, Secretary, KWS Mubina Akhtar, WWF Assam and Arunachal Pradesh coordinator Archita Baruah Bhattacharyya were the other speakers who throw light on the wetland related issues. Students and other members of the organizing bodies actively participated in the deliberations.
Conservation education is vital to wildlife protection and given that a quarter of the world’s population is aged between 10 and 24, this year’s World Wildlife Day theme ‘Listen to the Young Voices’, puts the onus on the younger generation. So to celebrate the Day on March 3, we took a journey to Kaziranga, to be part of a programme organized by the Rising Sun English School, Kohora and listen to what the young students think and say about wildlife protection. We were really impressed by deliberations in important topics like diversity of aquatic animals of Northeast, biodiversity of Assam, wetlands of Assam and the avifauna of the sub-Himalayan region, spelled out by the students. President of the Rising Sun School committee, Dilip Das said that people of Kaziranga, especially the young generation had become responsible stakeholders in protection of wildlife surrounding their places of living and were playing an active role during floods while rescuing animals. From KWS, President Padum Borthakur, ex-president Indrajit Dutta and myself—we shared our experience in dealing with some of the urgent environmental issues and which could motivate the young generation to become responsible stakeholders for the conservation of nature and wildlife.
On April 22, Kaziranga Wildlife Society observed Earth Day with the rest of the world by organizing a quiz on nature and environment in the Pensioners’ Bhawan, Guwahati. The prize-money quiz competition that was conducted by quizmasters Dilip Sarma and Dipankar Koushik saw a huge turn out. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Utpal Panchanan and the family of late Apurva Kumar Das for giving away the trophies in memory of late Aparna Kumar Padmapati and late Apurva Kumar Das. KWS also thank the family of late Abidur Rahman for the first cash award of Rupees 3000.
A calendar event of the Society, World Environment Day was celebrated by KWS on June 5, 2017 in Ketekijhar near Hajo in Kamrup district. The KWS members along with active participation of students and teachers from Ketekijhar M E School and villagers of Borgaon planted more than 300 saplings in the area. KWS also provided fencing for the saplings and in this regard I would like to thank Basanta Sarania for his active cooperation and coordination.
KWS has been celebrating Nature Conservation Day to commemorate the birthday of its founder president Dr Robin Banerjee on August 12. This year, Prof SP Biswas, Head of Department of Life Sciences, Dibrugarh University was invited to deliver the Dr Robin Banerjee Memorial Lecture on ‘Threats and Conservation of Aquatic Fauna of the Region’.
In the same programme, held at the AASSA auditorium, Bamunimaidam, Guwahati, the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award of Kaziranga Wildlife Society was presented to three distinguished personalities for their single-handed efforts to increase green cover by planting and taking care of thousands of saplings in their respective areas. The three recipients of this year’s award – which carries cash and a citation – are Majnur Hussain of Hajo, Ananda Khataniar and Nagen Choudhury of Bajali.
World Heritage Sites-- Kaziranga and Manas National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, , Nameri National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam were ravaged by the recent waves of flood. Absence of infrastructure facilities and insufficient manpower brought doom for a sizable wildlife population. The second wave of flood devastated the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, known for the highest density of one-horned rhinos in the world. Kaziranga Wildlife Society along with Early Birds, Aranya Suraksha Samity and NADO organized a veterinary camp in the aftermath of floods in two villages—Hatigor and Sildubi in the vicinity of the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary on September 3. About 250 cattle were treated in the camp.
We also started a campaign for a pollution free Diwali this year under the aegis of Assam Environmental Forum and with active participation of distinguished personalities from the cultural field—Dilip Hazarika, Ramen Barua, Ramen Choudhury, Kula Barua to name a few.
I personally represented the Society in Habitat Assessment team entrusted to prepare a status report on the prevailing habitat condition of Laokhowa Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuary (LBWLS)
to suggest measures found to be necessary to sustain translocated rhinos in the enclosed area during dry and flood period.
Suggest the impacts of the habitat on the health of a rhino during the period of confinement and precautions to be taken in the case of tranlocation of rhinos to Laokhowa Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuary (LBWLS) Complex
Our adviser Parbati Baruah and me—we represented Kaziranga Wildlife Society in the All India Elephant population Estimation, 2017.
The KWS website has been restored and updated with a different domain—www.kazirangawildlfesociety.in and we look forward to your suggestions.
At least 17 executive body meetings were convened during the last term. As per suggestion of the executive body Rudra Goswami and Dinesh Choudhury were co-opted as executive members.
Last but not the least, my thanks are due to all associated with the publication of The Rhino.
During the last term we tried to extend the membership base of the Society among wildlife enthusiasts and more particularly the student community. At least 20 new members—life members, student members and institutional member were inducted in the Society during the last term. I welcome each new member to Kaziranga Wildlife Society and look forward to your cooperation in carrying the activities of the Society forward.
I also take this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks once again to all the esteemed members for believing in me and choosing me to shoulder the responsibility as general secretary of this oldest conservation organization of the region. Definitely, it has been a humbling yet testing experience for me and hope for your forgiveness for any lapses on my part.
Long Live Kaziranga Wildlife Society!
Secretary, Kaziranga Wildlife Society
I, therefore, appeal to each and every member of the Society to take active interest in conservation and urge you to devote a little of your precious time in fulfilling the objectives of Kaziranga Wildlife Society.