Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Students urged to protect wildlife in Sikkim

GANGTOK, Oct. 16: The World Wide Fund today organised a daylong awareness camp for students in association with the state forest department. The programme, aimed at protecting wildlife and discouraging poaching, was held at Palzor Namgyal Girls Senior Secondary School here. Named Kids for Tiger, the awareness camp was a part of Complan Sanctuary Tiger programme. "Animal grazing in the state has been banned in reserve forest areas. Only fodder collection is allowed on sustainable basis," said Mr Karma Legshay Dhondup, divisional forest officer, wildlife. "In case anyone tries to flout the order, they would be fined by the forest department under the Wildlife Protection Act," he added. The programme was held to educate the students about wildlife and to ensure that the next generation gears up to save wildlife, forest and natural resources. Dr Dipankar Ghose, programme coordinator of WWF, India, spoke about conservation of wildlife. He announced that the WWF would conduct red panda census in Sikkim soon. Several pictures on killing of animals by poachers were shown through presentation by the organisers. "To aware the rural people, the state government recently launched "Smriti Van" programme in all the," said a senior forest official. There are eight sanctuaries in Sikkim, including Rhododendron Sanctuary at Lachung in North Sikkim and Kanchanzonga National Park which covers the area of 1,784 sq km from West to North Sikkim. Animals, including red pandas, Himalayan black bear, Tragopan pheasant, Kaleej pheasant and butterflies are found in all state sanctuaries.The state government, meanwhile, is planning to organise similar awareness programmes in all the schools to boost preservation of wildlife.