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Asian researchers take part in Aaranyak training on mammals

GUWAHATI: Wildlife researchers and forest officials from Indonesia, Myanmar, Bhutan and India were introduced to the latest scientific methods and technologies applied for field monitoring of terrestrial mammals during the course of a short-term training programme at Basbari in Manas National Park.

Wildlife and biodiversity conservation organisation, Aaranyak organised the five-day training on “Population Monitoring Techniques of Terrestrial Mammals” under its Manas Tiger Conservation Programme (MTCP). The programme concluded on Saturday.

The participants during the training had access to hands-on application of the technologies and techniques such as GIS, camera based monitoring, animal sign survey and data analysis during the training.

The training was conducted by Abishek Harihar, Scientist, Panthera (New York), Dipankar Lahkar and M Firoz Ahmed of Aaranyak and technically assisted by Arif Hussain, Aparajita Singh and Kalloli Dutta of Aaranyak.

Several resource persons and experts on wildlife conservation and management including Hiranya Kumar Sarma, field director, Manas Tiger Project,  interacted with the participants during the training programme.

Briefing the participants, the field director, Manas Tiger Project stated that such training inculcated scientific values among the park management ensuring better management and protection of species and their habitats.

Margaret, a participant from Myanmar said the programme, catering to the needs of wildlife researchers working in practical sessions, was helpful in making the participants more confident in managing on-field requirements in their respective countries.

“The training has created additional foundation over my foundation of wildlife research and is going to help in doing better research and analysing the data generated by our research,” said Amrita Menon of Nature Conservation Foundation.

Phurb Dorji of the Bhutan forest department appreciated the management of Manas National Park in protecting the biodiversity of the park. He stressed on the importance of the Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA) that includes both Manas National Park in India and Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan as core habitat to ensure free movement of wildlife in the landscape.

Puja Bishaya, a PhD student of Cotton University said the training has helped her in understanding the practical aspects of wildlife research.

During the training, the participants carried out several field exercises on different methods to monitor terrestrial mammals including camera trapping, line transects and sign surveys. At the end of the training, each participant was awarded with a certificate of participation.

The MTCP, led by Aaranyak and being implemented in partnership with the forest department of Bodoland Territorial Council, Wildlife Conservation Trust, Panthera and Awely, is actively working towards improvement of protection, conservation and community wellbeing in Manas National Park and its fringe areas.

The tiger conservation programme aims to create a cadre of wildlife biologists and inspire the new generation to nature conservation.

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