Guwahati, July 18: The health condition of frontline forest staff is of prime concern in view of their extremely tough responsibility to protect the state’s wildlife resources including the prized one-horned rhinos.
Premier research-based biodiversity conservation organisation Aaranyak facilitated a health check-up camp for frontline forest staff and some of their family members in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday in collaboration with Indian Medical Association, Guwahati Branch, authorities in Pobitora WLS and Guwahati Wildlife Division.
Around 150 persons including forest staff attended the health camp where they were given prescribed drugs free of cost after subjecting them to health check-up and blood tests.
Over 100 frontline forest staff entrusted to protect the treasure trove of one-horned Indian rhinoceros in the tiny (38.85 square kilometre) Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary located on the south bank of Brahmaputra in Morigaon district of Assam, have to shoulder a strenuous responsibility.
The sanctuary is surrounded by densely populated villages and it has the highest rhino density in the world making the animals vulnerable to poachers on the prowl and they become more vulnerable in case the species happen to stray out of the core area of the sanctuary.
All these factors combined, it makes the task very tough for the frontline forest staff deployed in Pobitora WLS and they often have sleepless nights as their stress level remains on the higher side because of the toughness of their job.
From IMA, Guwahati, Dr Pritom Borthakur, Dr Arati Deka, Dr Amal Dev Goswami, Dr Rajiv Sarma, Dr Dilip Sarma and Dr Rupnayan Goswami examined the participants in the camp.
Diju Roy from Arogyam, Hemanta Sarma and Satyoki Chakraborty from Sun Pharma helped in blood testing and drug distribution among the participants in the health camp
From Aaranyak, Manas Kumar Bhattacharjya, Md Khalid, Rajgarh Kalita ensured successful completion of the health camp. Range officer of Pobitora WLS, Nayan Jyoti Das helped the Aaranyak team to manage the health camp smoothly.
“Aaranyak stands grateful to Zoo Berlin and Conservation and Research Fund (CRF) for their support,” said Aaranyak’s official Manas Kumar Bhattacharjya adding but for the efforts of Dr Pritom Borthakur and all the respected doctors of IMA, Guwahati branch, holding the health camp wouldn't have been possible.
Raincoats, torchlights provided: Earlier, before the health camp was started, Aaranyak had handed over 20 torchlights and 20 raincoats to the Range Officer of Pobitora WLS for distribution among members of Village Defence Organisations (VDOs) from fringe areas of the sanctuary. The VDO members coordinate well with forest personnel and police personnel in the efforts to prevent rhino poaching in the wildlife sanctuary.
The torchlights were sponsored by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) while the raincoats were sponsored by KEPL and Aaranyak facilitated the distribution for the VDO members engaged in anti- rhino poaching efforts in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary that occupies a very important spot in the global map of rhino habitats.
Aaranyak has been assisting efforts for conservation of rhinos in Pobitora WLS by providing various equipment, field gear to forest personnel and VDO members.