Conservation in Nagaland rising with new attitude


The celebration of the 69th edition of National Wildlife Week commenced at the National Zoological Park on October 2. This annual event will culminate on October 8. In alignment with the United Nations World Wildlife Day 2023 theme, ‘Partnerships for wildlife conservation’ the weeklong celebration of National Wildlife is honouring the people who are making a difference. The preparation is to conduct activities in context to wildlife conservation aimed at using inclusive and collective participation for the conservation cause. 

The website belonging to the Department of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of Nagaland gives an overview of forest area in the State. The recorded forest area of the State is 8629.30 sq km which is 52% of its geographical area. The Reserved Forests constitute 3.06% while Protected Forests is 5.51% and Unclassed Forest constitutes 93.56%. The state has one National Park and three Wildlife Sanctuaries covering 222.0 sq km which constitutes 1.34% of its geographical area. The Wildlife Conservation Society-India recognises Nagaland as one of the states in the North eastern regions which holds tremendous potential for long-term conservation of tigers as source populations from Protected Areas in Kaziranga, Manas, Orang, and Dibang valley could lead to widespread population recovery in adjoining community forests home to remnant prey populations.

With the setting in of the National Wildlife Week, the Department of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Nagaland has made an effort to share wildlife week special articles in the local dailies. The Divisional Forest Officer for Peren district, Prabhat Kumar, IFS observes in his article that in past decade, Nagaland as a State has witnessed a remarkable change in the way of living, level of awareness about the optimum utilisation of resources and about the importance of conservation. The officer calls the conservation of Amur Falcon as one of Nagaland’s biggest conservation success story and credits its success to the intervention of the Forest Department, NGOs, civil societies, churches and various other organizations. 

Noted as an appreciative step, the Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Nagaland honoured four frontline staff of the Forest Department as Conservation Heroes for exemplary work in wildlife conservation in Nagaland. The four Conservation Heroes Lansothung Lotha, RFO, Wokha; Hukai Zhimo, Forester-I, Wildlife Dimapur; Y Limthure Yimchunger, Forest Guard, Kiphire Division; and Bhola, Animal Keeper, Nagaland Zoological Park were awarded during the 69th National Wildlife Week celebration at Nagaland Zoological Park, Rangapahar on October 4, 2023. 

‘Nagaland is endowed with a rich wildlife and bio-diversity. However, without realising their true value, we have destroyed a large part of this natural wealth,’ the Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio reaffirmed this in his message on the eve of the National Wildlife Week. With new initiatives by the local communities, villages, and state machineries, the Chief Minister claims that there has been an increasing realisation and awakening amongst the Nagas too, about the importance of wildlife, and the need to protect and conserve them; and things are taking a new turn for good. 

In an era of global warming and climatic challenges, Nagaland conservation cause seems to be transitioning towards progress and growth. As one the states with the highest number of notified Community Reserves in the country, Nagaland and its people are making it possible to imagine and becoming a society that is conscious about conserving its natural resources, forest and wildlife. With this same strength of mind, perhaps Naga people’s attitude towards conservation is taking a new turn for good. As the Divisional Forest Officer for Peren district maintains, “The conservation has a lot to do with the attitude and mindset of the people of an area and certainly Nagaland is witnessing a welcome change.”

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