Digboi College organises awareness campaign on wetland ecosystem
Department of Zoology, Digboi College in collaboration with the Assam Science Society, Guwahati and Ministry of Environment and Forest under National Environment Awareness Campaign, conducted series of nature campaign in and around Digboi town under the theme ‘Conservation of Wetland Ecosystem in and around Margherita Sub-division’.
The first programme was conducted at the Bapapung Panbari ME School, Bapapung on March 14, where at least 340 students of Bapapung Panbari HE School, Bapapung Panbari ME School and Janaki LP school participated in the programme along with villagers and school teachers.
Anu Borgohain, Head, Department of Zoology, Digboi College, delivered her talk on the wetland ecosystem of Assam. She highlighted the importance of the wetlands ecosystem and its relationship with the human beings along with various data related with the distribution of wetlands, its types and the total area covered in Assam and in Tinsukia. She also discussed about the wetlands of Deepor Beel Bird Sanctuary of Guwahati, Pani Dehing Birds Sanctuary of Sivasagar, Son Beel of Cachar and Maguribeel of Tinsukia.
Another resource person of the programme, Sailendra Mohan Das, Assistant Eastern Assam Co-ordinator, Aaranyak, delivered a lecture on the relevant topic. He showed some of the last remains of the wetlands of Digboi surroundings. Further he showed the flora vegetation found in these wetlands and its importance both for the environment and also to the human beings.Wetland is regarded as the kidney of our planet earth which absorbs rain water, drain water, surface water and purifies it with the help of flora vegetations present there in, which in turn, dissolves oxygen for aquatic life, such as insects, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and also creates winter home for our valued migratory birds, Das told the participants.
Das also showed some pictures on amphibians, reptiles, birds which are commonly found in these wetlands. He also discussed how local fishing communities and the local villagers benefited from these wetlands and highlighted how fish poisoning was hampering the wetlands of Assam.
Later, Rajib Rudra Tariang, Lecturer, Department of Zoology, Digboi College, delivered lecture on how to identify poisonous snake fauna and about the first aid measures if bitten by any poisonous snake and discussed about the drawbacks of the traditional poisonous snake bite remedies and to follow allopathic treatment of such bites.
Leaflets and posters about the importance of the wetlands and conservation of other faunas were distributed among the students, teachers and local masses.
The second programme was held at Balijan Borjan HE School, Borjan, Digboi on March 17 for the students, teachers and local public, where Anu Borgohain, head, Department of Zoology, Digboi College delivered a lecture on wetland conservation in and around Digboi. Another resource person of the programme, Sanjay Das, ornithologist and member Aaranyak of upper Assam branch delivered a talk on wetland birds, their conservation and about the current threats of the species found within the wetlands of this region. Rajib Rudra Tariang, lecturer in the department of Zoology, Digboi College, Digboi, delivered a speech on food chain and food web and also how to identify poisonous snake species and about the first aid if bitten by any poisonous snakes. About 450 students, teachers and the villager participants were present in the meeting.
The concluding awareness campaign was conducted at Digboi High School, Block Gaon, Itavata, Digboi on March 18, where not less than 300 people participated in the campaign. Anu Borgohain, delivered her lecture on Wetland Conservation in Assam and Rajib Rudra Tariang gave a power point projection on biodiversity and its conservational importance to students group. He also showed small documentation on vulture population and its importance in the society. Tariang also highlighted how the populations are dwindling due to use of banned Diclofenac injection to the cattle and propagated the use of Meloxicam injection as alternative injection.
Prabhakar Das, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Digboi Division delivered a speech on importance of flora and fauna, their interdependence with one another and about illegal poaching of the wild animals. Later the DFO, distributed some leaflets and booklets on related topics among the students and teachers of the school.
Job prospects in wildlife conservation discussed
Majestic pachyderms like elephants and rhinos face a grave threat due to human interference such as large-scale habitat loss and fragmentation, legal and illegal tree felling, conflicts with humans, poaching, ivory trade and capture of wild elephants.
Dr Christy Williams, programme coordinator of Asiatic Elephant and the Rhinos of Asia working for nature under the World Wide Fund (WWF) for nature told the students of Digboi and Margherita College during his talk at Digboi College, last Saturday.
Dr. Christy delivered an informative lecture on the Asiatic elephant under the theme Wanted Alive! The Asiatic Elephant in the Wild. The Department of Zoology of Digboi College organised the day-long seminar on the theme, ‘Prospects of Wildlife as Professional Career’ among the students of Digboi College and Margherita College science stream.
Dr Christy highlighted the earlier range of distribution of the pachyderms and also gave a comparative analysis about the total number and present range of distribution of the pachyderms. He discussed aspects of the social behaviour of the majestic giants, the Asiatic Elephant, among the student participants by sharing his personal experiences.
He also discussed how the Asiatic Elephants as well as other terrestrial land animals were studied with modern techniques like radio collaring, GIS tracking, etc. He further shared his views for human-elephant conflict minimisation in and around Digboi.
Dr Kashmira Kakati, a renowned primatologist, who also formed the resource team, gave an informative talk about the biodiversity hotspots of South East Asia including the Indo-Burma region.. She highlighted the importance of the endangered Hoolock Gibbons and their conservation. She discussed the pitiable condition of Hoolock Gibbon habitat in the present century and also informed that only a small population was left in the wild whose conservation was top priority. She also discussed how mass destruction of forest had occurred due to lack of governmental as well as political will. She also gave a live demonstration how camera trap photography was installed in the jungles and about their utility in modern day wildlife research.
Dr Kakati is currently undergoing a project on Camera Trap Photography of Carnivores in the forest of Joypur, Assam where she claims that at least 42 different species of mammals are present including both herbivore and carnivore.
She also gave tips to the students on how to become a successful wildlife researcher and also where to study wildlife courses as well as wildlife job opportunity. She also discussed about wildlife-related careers avenues.
A fruitful interaction was carried out among the student participants of various science disciplines. Earlier, Anu Borgohain, Head, Department of Zoology, Digboi College delivered a speech on the purpose of the meeting while Saibal Dev, SG. Lecturer of the department of Zoology gave a brief introduction on the invited resource persons.
Mohandra Bharali Baruah, Principal, Digboi College presided over the meeting and gave his presidential remarks on the workshop. Aparajita Gogoi, Senior lecturer in the department of Zoology of Digboi College, besides Sunil Kr Borah, Head, Department of Zoology and Jayanta Payeng, Head, Department of Mathematics, both from Margherita College also attended the workshop along with their students. Rajib Rudra Tariang, lecturer, department of zoology, offered the vote of thanks.