The state Forest department on Saturday launched a first-of-its-kind scheme for nature and wildlife lovers under which they will be able to engage in wildlife preservation and anti-poaching activities, among various other things, at different sanctuaries across the state.
The pilot of this scheme was launched at Murti beat in north Bengal’s Gorumara National Park, which is a sanctuary for the Indian rhinoceros. Chief Principal Conservator Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden of the state Ravi Kant Sinha told The Sunday Express, “Anyone can be a part of the scheme and be a forest ranger. The idea is that the applicant, instead of going to forest guest-houses or hotels near the sanctuaries, will get a chance to stay with the forest staff. They will also be able to participate in all the activities that the forest staff does.”
Sinha added that applicants can also engage in patrolling of the forests, take part in raids and function like a forest officer.
The scheme, however, comes at a price. “One can apply for the scheme by paying Rs 15,000 for two years. This ensures two trips of five days each. You will have to get yourself to the nearest railway station and airport, and the rest will be taken care of by our staff. We are not making a profit off this — it is at cost — so if there is money left over then one can avail of a third trip,’’ said Sinha. In Saturday’s inaugural trip at Murti, Sinha said that the forest department has had 13 participants, including two teachers, an engineer, a businessman and a retired army officer.
“The idea came to me that my friends know nothing about forest life and what forest guards actually do. But there is a lot of curiosity. Especially animal and forest lovers have always expressed an interest to get hands-on experience. The aim is that the participants get real-time experience and then go out and become ambassadors of wildlife and forest conservation,’’ Sinha said. If successful, the scheme will be expanded to other states as well, he added.
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