Mokokchung, 6 October (MTNews): Mokokchung Forest Division, in collaboration with the Wildlife Division Dimapur, organized a wildlife sensitization program under the theme “Partnership in Wildlife Conservation” in observance of National Wildlife Week 2023. Held at Saringyim Village, this event brought together stakeholders, dignitaries, and the youth to address the pressing issue of the human-wildlife interface.
Lanusosang Ao, Chairman, Nokpu Village Council, highlighted the unanimous decision taken by the Joint Council of Nokpu and Saring to ban hunting of wildlife within their jurisdiction.
N Senthil Kumar, IFS, Conservator of Forests, who was the special guest for the program, honored the dedication of the Joint Councils to wildlife conservation and stressed the need for collaboration to protect unique ecosystems. He highlighted the significance of working together to create a synergy that can safeguard the natural world.
Alemwapang Imchen, ACF, commended the Joint Councils of Nokpu and Saring villages for their unwavering commitment to safeguarding the natural heritage. He urged the youth in attendance to embrace their responsibility in preserving the environment.
Tokaho Kinimi, IFS, Wildlife Warden, Dimapur Wildlife Division, emphasized the critical importance of wildlife conservation, stressing that the preservation of wildlife is now a necessity for collective survival in an era of increasing human-wildlife interaction. He called for unified efforts from all stakeholders to ensure the success of conservation initiatives.
Orenthung Kikon, EAC Longchem, encouraged people to cultivate a symbiotic relationship with nature and emphasized humanity’s divine calling to nurture the earth rather than exploit it.
The program included a productive general discussion, where stakeholders shared their concerns and challenges stemming from the human-wildlife interface. Diverse opinions were exchanged to identify the best path forward in conservation efforts.
In recognition of their commitment to environmental awareness, awards and certificates were presented to students who had participated in a nature art competition which was organized at GMS Nokpu and GHS Saring on 4 October 2023. Imkongsunep (Standard VI) bagged first prize from GMS Nokpu while Imlitongzuk (Standard VII) bagged first prize form GHS Saring.
The Wildlife wing of Dimapur conducted a field demonstration to educate the community on mitigating the human-elephant interface, contributing to a safer coexistence with these magnificent creatures. The program was chaired by Moakumdang, Dy. Ranger, i/c Longchem Range. The vote of thanks was delivered by Moamongba, ACF.
Nokpu and Saring villages work to conserve wildlife, despite challenges
Chairman of the Nokpu Village Council said that the village Senso Mungdang adopted the resolution on wildlife conservation in 2022 and that the Village Councils of Nokpu and Saring were entrusted to execute the resolution. Since then, apart from the ban on hunting and killing of wildlife, the village councils have been undertaking various measures to propagate the resolution. He said that the village approached the Forest Department to conduct the sensitization program that was held on 6 October and conveyed appreciation to the department for their positive response.
Speaking to Mokokchung Times, the Nokpu Village Council Chairman said that there has been a noticeable increase in the wildlife population ever since the resolution of 2022 was put into effect.
However, he also cited some issues that need to be resolved – including the damage of crops caused by wild animals and birds as well as loss of domestic animals to preying wild animals. He also raised potential human-wildlife conflict as a potential problem.
He also said that a total ban on hunting in a community that practiced it as a tradition was not easy and appreciated the villagers for their cooperation. He said that a variety of birds including parrots, babblers, peafowl and rock pigeons are endemic to the village’s territory while there are a number of wild animals, including the tiger, which can be found in the village’s forests.
Elephants, sambar deer, monkeys, bears and various wild cats are found in the village’s forests.
The Village Council Chairman shared that a “mindset change” at the community level is needed to successfully implement wildlife conservation and that penalties and fines are not the solution. To this end, he said it is important to inculcate the notion of wildlife conservation to the young students and raise the next generation adequately informed about it.
While stating that the villages of Nokpu and Saring are ready to partner with the government in wildlife conservation, the Village Council Chairman also hoped that adequate policies would be framed by the government to mitigate loss of crops, domestic animals and even human life to wildlife, including compensation and rehabilitation.