To raise awareness towards conservation of wildlife and prevent extinction of endangered species, October 1 to 7 is observed as the World Wildlife Week. The week was marked well across India and wildlife groups and organisations rededicated themselves to the cause of saving our wildlife.The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)’s Wildlife Division bears the responsibility of carrying out the activities relating to wildlife conservation in the country.

The Division is responsible to deal with state governments and provide them financial and technical assistance for scientific management of wildlife resources of the country. Wildlife research and training of personnel involved in wildlife management is also carried out by this Division through the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

With a view to preserve the fauna of India, particularly to take urgent steps to prevent extinction of any species, the Government of India established an Indian Board of Wild Life (IBWL) in 1952. The IBWL is the apex advisory body in the field of Wildlife Conservation in the country and is headed by the Honorable Prime Minister of India. Following is the addressing speech of Dr. Manmohan Singh to the nation on World Wildlife week:

“India is richly endowed with biodiversity and is home to a fascinating array of wildlife, including major species like the tiger, lion, elephant and rhinoceros. Our protected areas and other natural ecosystems offer a wide range of tangible as well as intangible benefits. We are guardians of this treasure and it is our responsibility to protect it for posterity. This could be best achieved by harmonizing our development imperatives with conservation concerns. It is necessary that all Indians recognize this and cooperate towards conserving our irreplaceable wildlife.

Wildlife Week coincides with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the aspects of non-violence. His ideal of non-violence towards all living beings should guide us in understanding our relationship with wildlife. On this occasion, let us reaffirm our commitment to conserving our wildlife.”

Many states in the Northeast region of India, known for its rich biodiversity, also joined the world in observing the week long celebration. In Assam, Aaranyak, a registered society working in the field of biodiversity conservation in Northeast India since 1989 celebrated the World Wildlife Week by conducting field-based biodiversity conservation training for local NGOs in Mana Tiger Reserve.

Organized in collaboration with the Forest Department of the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD), the training programme comprised classroom as well as field training modes that aimed at developing the skills of the members of local NGOs associated with the Manas Tiger Reserve (MTR). A two days programme was also held in Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park on 6 and 7 October 2010. It was conducted in collaboration with Mangaldoi Wildlife Division of Assam Forest Department, Shilbori Junior College, Shilbori High School and Otter (a local NGO).

A Wildlife Photo Exhibition was organized by the Wildlife Wing of the Department of Forest, Government of Manipur. The chief guest, A. Khasing, additional chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden,was quoted saying, “wildlife photography has lots of professional prospects but at the same time it is also very risky. The photographers need to have patience and determination to capture good wildlife pictures.”

The State of Sikkim welcomed the celebration with the announcement of upgrading its Himalayan Zoological Park which is part of the Rs. 330.57/- crore Sikkim Bio-diversity Conservation and Forest Management project. The Project is funded by the Japanese International Co-operative Agency (JICA). Students were invited to the park as part of the the week long wildlife week celebrations organised by the State Forest Department.

Zoo Director Sangay Gyatso address the school kids and shared his vision with, “We will also make efforts to bring in more high altitude species like munal, tragopan and blue sheep to the zoo so that the facility will become a perennial tourist attraction.”

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