Manas National Park Current Affairs

Ecologist Bibhuti Lahkar wins IUCN’s Heritage Heroes Award 2016

Assam-based ecologist and conservation activist Bibhuti Lahkar has won prestigious ‘Heritage Heroes Award’ of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

With this, he became the first Asian to win this prestigious environmental award. He was presented this award at the IUCN’s ongoing World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Background

Lahkar was among five conservationists across the globe to be nominated for 2016 Heritage Heroes Award. Others were  Bantu Lukambo and Josue Kambasu Mukura (Congo), Yulia Naberezhnaya and Andrey Rudomahka (Russia)

About Bibhuti Lahkar

  • For the past two decades Lahkar, has been working to save the grasslands, flora and fauna of Manas National Park area.
  • Currently, he is engaged as Manas Landscape Administrator for Aaranyak, an NGO working for biodiversity conservation in northeast India.
  • He has intensively studied grasslands of Manas and is globally recognised as an expert in threatened flora and fauna of the Terai region along southern foothills of the Himalayas.
  • He was also instrumental in connecting Manas Wildlife Sanctuary with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
  • Connecting them had led to a system of trans-boundary wildlife monitoring which now supports management in entire Manas natural area that spreads across India and Bhutan.
  • He also had conducted the first GIS survey of the Manas and his research findings and recommendations were critical component in the Manas Tiger Conservation Plan.

IUCN’s Heritage Heroes Award: It aims at recognising “outstanding efforts” of persons around the world in making a difference in the conservation of World Heritage sites in challenging situations.

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For first time 19 swamp deer translocated from Kaziranga to Manas National Park

For the first time in India, a herd of 19 swamp deer were translocated  from Kaziranga National Park to Manas National Park in Assam. It was part of ‘Eastern Swamp Deer Conservation Project’ to source their population to Manas National Park.

This translocation initiative was initiated by a team of experts from the Assam Forest Department (AFD), Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Assam College of Veterinary Science.

As a part of translocation, they were transported more than 400 kms away from present habitat and were released in a specially prepared enclosure or boma in Manas. This boma (enclosure) is secured by a two-line power fence installed over a barrier to deter leopards.

In this enclosure, they are provided with transplanted short grass originally from their habitat to ensure well- being of the herd.

As part of translocation they will kept in boma for the first few months and later will be released in the park in batches. While some of them will be kept in the boma for breeding purposes.

Swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii ranjitsinhi) are popularly known as ‘Barasingha’. Its entire population is currently found only in Kaziranga National Park.

Eastern Swamp Deer Conservation Project- It is an ecological research programme of AFD and WTI along with ONGC started in 2010. The aim of the project is to understand the ecology of the eastern swamp deer and develop management strategies for conservation of their last surviving population in India.

The project generally focuses on  researching diet, genetic constitution and behaviour of swap deers which will provide useful insight for scientific management of the sub-species in Kaziranga, along with creating a second home in Manas National Park.

Translocation: It is a wildlife conservation biology which includes capture, transport and release or introduce species from their original habitat to another habitat far away. It seeks to reduce the risk of their extinction by increasing, augmenting their critical population.

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