In a unique move, 14 youths from Shergaon in Arunachal Pradesh have decided to become conservation ambassadors to motivate locals to give up the traditional practice of hunting Asiatic black bears. This first-of its kind initiative has been supported by International Fund for Animal Welfare- Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) run Centre for Bear Rehabilitation and Conservation (CBRC).
Explaining the need for such awareness programmes, IFAW-WTI regional head Sunil Kyarong said, ‘Animals are highly valued in Arunachal for their body parts, because of which hunting still remains the biggest threat for the State.’ He also said that sensitizing the locals on the conservation of Asiatic black bears is of utmost importance for the well-being of the species. As a part of their initiative, the youths recently visited Pakke Tiger Reserve in East Kameng district.
Tana Tapi, Divisional Forest Officer, Pakke Tiger Reserve, said, ‘I am hopeful that after witnessing the conservation activities of the forest department and the IFAW-WTI in PTR, the youths of Shergaon will be motivated to get involved in conservation activities.’ Besides, for developing a strong bond between conservation organisations and other stakeholders, the visiting team was also taken to ‘Jungle Camp’, an ecotourism site jointly run by the Ghora Aabhe Society and the State Forest department.’