'Lifetime Achievement Award' conferred upon Dr. Kushal Konwar Sarma by Kaziranga Wild Life Society on February 27, 2020 at the Guwahati Press Club
Call for community participation in wildlife conservation
GUWAHATI, Feb 27 - The Kaziranga Wildlife Society (KWS) Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to eminent wildlife veterinarian and elephant expert Dr Kushal Konwar Sarma at a function held at the Guwahati Press Club today.
Sarma, who was recently conferred the Padma Shri for his outstanding contribution in the field of wildlife treatment and Asian elephant conservation, has, during the last three decades, treated over 7,000 elephants, both captive and wild, and played a key role in taming about 200 rogue bull elephants.
The function, presided over by former president of KWS Indrajit Dutta, was addressed by All Bodo Students’ Union president Dipen Boro as chief guest.
Other speakers included former Principal Chief Conservator of Assam Mohan Chandra Malakar, former KWS presidents Ramanikanta Deka and Abani Baruah, senior journalist and KWS working president Pranay Bordoloi and conservationist and senior journalist Jayanta Kumar Das.
Chief guest Boro, who is also actively involved in conservation initiatives in Udalguri district, especially in mitigating the man-elephant conflict, stressed the need for community participation in conservation.
“Udalguri has been a hotbed of man-elephant conflict, which needs to be eased through long-term afforestation measures involving local communities. Some initiatives have been taken in this regard and the need is to strengthen the movement through community participation,” he said.
Receiving the award, Dr Sarma gave an account of his long experience in the field of wildlife treatment, especially the elephant. “The elephant is a noble animal and my association with this magnificent creature dates back to my childhood days. The elephant is our heritage and it is our bounden duty to protect this heritage for posterity,” he said.
Mohan Chandra Malakar, in his speech, dwelt on the role of the forest department in conservation, saying that the long-term goals of conservation would remain unfulfilled unless there is community participation. He added that NGOs, too, have a big role in taking conservation to the communities and that it is happening in Assam.
Jayanta Kumar Das, who has been involved with a few pioneering initiatives in Udalguri vis-à-vis man-elephant conflict, said that all concerned need to play their role in saving the natural environment and wildlife.
“We have been doing community-centric works in Udalguri, but much more needs to be done. The State government should also assist such efforts in a meaningful way,” he said.
Das added that with a conservationist now leading the ABSU, community conservation efforts would get new dynamism.