Guwahati, Nov 24: A three-day tour of dignitaries from France and South Africa to Assam, under the Indo-Pacific Parks and Biodiversity Partnership, concluded at the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve on Friday.
On the final day, the delegates explored the contiguous landscapes of Kaziranga, Nameri and Orang National Parks through waterways, and concluded their visit at the Bhomoraguri Inspection Bungalow.
The international experts also took part in a workshop and paid field visits, aimed at strengthening the partnership towards biodiversity conservation.
Official sources said that the participants gained experience in various best practices such as policies promoting national parks, preventing poaching through enforcement, generating income for community livelihoods for long-term park management, involving local institutions in decision-making, and wildlife monitoring techniques.
The visit took place under the aegis of the Park and Biodiversity Partnership, which is a trilateral collaboration between the AFD (French Development Agency), ONFI (French Forest Service International) and the Assam forest department.
Notably, the pact, for exchanging of expertise and sharing of knowledge between the partners on various aspects of wildlife protection management, was signed in May 2022.
Earlier, the programme was inaugurated with a workshop on knowledge sharing at Kaziranga. M.K. Yadava, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) and head of forest force (HoFF), Assam, chaired the workshop and highlighted the richness of biodiversity and forest wealth in Assam, and the state government’s various initiatives to protect and conserve the same.
The workshop attendees included representatives from ONFI, the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD, France) and South African National Parks (SANparks), along with officers from the Rajasthan forest department, as part of the visiting delegation.
Other senior officers from the Assam forest department and divisional forest officers (DFO)s from various forest divisions also participated in the event.
The workshop included three thematic round-table discussions, where the visiting experts shared knowledge and experience of wildlife conservation and its best practices in South Africa and Rajasthan.
Forest officers from Assam shared their insights and ideas from the existing wildlife conservation measures implemented in the state, including aspects of long-term monitoring, surveillance and enforcement, and also on enhancing community engagement through initiatives like ecotourism.
The delegates also visited various parts of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve Thursday and Friday during which they interacted with the frontline staff of the tiger reserve.
Demonstrations on various wildlife conservation measures adopted by the park management, including soil and moisture conservation, drone-based surveillance, camera trapping for wild animal population estimation, land reclamation among others, were also given.
The delegates also interacted with the women forest frontline serving at various anti-poaching camps.