Report by OD bureau, Bhubaneswar: The State level function on the occasion of the 58th Wildlife Week was celebrated today at 4.00 PM in Jaydev Bhawan, Bhubaneswar. The Wildlife Week is celebrated for 7 days in India every year from 2nd October, coinciding with the birth day of Mahatma Gandhi.
Minister of forest and Environment, Sri Bijayashree Routray inaugurated the function as the Chief Guest. Sri J.D. Sharma, Principal Chief Conservator of forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden gave the welcome address.
R.K. Sharma, Principal Secretary, forest and Environment Department addressed the gathering as Guest of Honour. For the survival of mankind it is essential that wildlife and their habitats are duly protected and conserved, the guest of honour indicated. For this, a lot of public awakening is required.
This year, the Wildlife Organization in the State has launched a Elephant corridor management programme and a sum of Rs. 5.00 crore has been provided for improvement & development of 14 pre identified of Elephant Corridors across the State. It is hoped that, over a period, once these patches are well stocked with vegetation and water bodies, the movement of Elephants will be contained in these corridors.
To accord further protection to tigers and to have a objective assessment of tiger in our State, 80 digital cameras have been installed in Similipal tiger Reserve and SataKosia tiger Reserve and 100 more such cameras are in the process of installation. The Similipal Tiger Conservation Foundation has been registered in this year and the first meeting of the governing Body of the foundation has been held and this will help in timely utilization of funds provided by the State government as well as govt. of India.
Formation of Tiger Protection force for Similipal tiger Reserve, consisting of 1 ACF, 3 Range Officers, 18 foresters & 90 Tiger forest guards has already been notified. It is hoped that very soon their Service Regulations will be rationalized and recruitment will be done and force will be available after due training for extending better protection to the wildlife inside Similipal Tiger Reserve.
Zoos in the State play very important role in conservation of wildlife particularly conservation of endangered species. Nandankanan Zoo has attracted all time high about 25 lakhs tourists in 2012. A successful programme for breeding of pangolin is going on in Nandankanan. In addition to Nandankanan Zoo, there are 11 small and mini zoos in the State. The Zoo Assesment Committee has been constituted recently. After inspecting all the zoos in the State, the Committee will submit its report, basing on which further action plan will be developed.
B.K. Patnaik, Ex-PCCF (Wildlife) and chairman, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Odisha delivered a keynote address on wildlife scenario in the State ad exhorted for all out efforts by all stake holders for protection and conservation of wildlife.
For more effective protection of habitats of wildlife, the Hon’ble Minister of forest and Environment solicited the co-operation of the people of Odisha. He emphasized that the extinction of any single species from the environment generates serious imbalance as wildlife constitutes and integral par of our own environment. Hon’ble Minister described the various steps taken by the Government for effective conservation of the forest habitat, reclamation of degraded forests and reconnecting the fragmented wildlife habitats. Recent steps taken for mitigating the man-animal conflict situation were also described. The Minister pleaded for showing love and compassion for all forms of wildlife and for preventing their extermination.
Minister released three books on this occasion-,’Wildlife Odisha-2012’, ‘ Common Nesting Birds of Odisha’ and ‘A field guide for beginners: Butterfly of Bonai, Odisha’. In addition to the above a brochure titled ‘Woodpeckers of Bhitarkanika’ and a Newsletter of Odisha Bamboo Development Agency (OBDA) were also released on this occasion’. Besides, one documentary film on Bhitarkanika was also released on this occasion.
The prestigious State level ‘Biju Patnaik Award for Wildlife Conservation (2011-12)’ was awarded with 2 lakhs cheque to Sri Shyam Om Prasad Mishra of Subarnapur for his sustained contribution towards the conservation of wildlife. The Minister presented the award to the winners of various competitions such as Wildlife Photography, sit and draw competitions for juniors and seniors. Dr. Karat, IFS gave the vote of thanks.