Guwahati, Oct 16 (IANS) In what might cheer conservationists and wildlife lovers, the Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry has directed the Assam government to take necessary steps to declare the Poba reserve forest in the state’s Dhemaji district a wildlife sanctuary.The development took place after Assm’s prominent wildlife and nature conservation organization Nature’s Beckon wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his immediate intervention in declaring the Poba reserve forest as a wildlife sanctuary.The PMO forwarded the letter to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change directing for actions and steps as necessary by the Assam Forest Department to declare Poba as a wildlife sanctuary.”It is very important to declare Poba as wildlife sanctuary as it has a contiguous landscape with D. Ering wildlife sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh and and Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Assam’s Tinsukia district,” said Soumyadeep Datta of Natures’ Beckon.He said that it is a good move as the over decade-old battle of the Natures’ Beckon to get Poba declared as a wildlife sanctuary has been noticed by the Prime Ministers’ Office.”We are happy at this. Our question was that why is it that we have to struggle always to get something. Natures’ Beckon have been struggling for more than a decade to get wildlife sanctuary tag for Poba,” said Jugal Handique, a member of Natures’ Beckon, who wrote the letter to the Prime Minister.He said that if Poba is destroyed, it will block the whole animal corridor which might have negative impact on wildlife conservation.In April this year, officials of Jonai forest division in Dhemaji spotted the pugmark of a Royal Bengal Tiger in Poba, which had elated the wildlife enthusiasts.Locals said that there have been rampant legal and illegal exploitation of the forest resources from Poba, which is affecting the wildlife to a great extent.Notified by the then British government in 1924 as a reserve forest, Poba used to be home to many rare and endangered animal species. However, rampant destruction of the green cover, poaching and illegal collection of forest wealth by unscrupulous traders have threatened it.–IANSah/vd
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