GUWAHATI: Assam’s 67th Wildlife Week began with a colourful elephant procession on Saturday at the Assam State Zoo and Botanical Garden in Guwahati.
Minister for Environment and Forest, Fisheries and Excise, Parimal Suklabaidya flagged off the elephant procession after hasti poojan from the zoo premises.
The Minister took part in the colourful elephant procession comprising children, women and forest personnel holding placards on the need for protection of forest to save wildlife and stop to killing of elephants.
Minister Suklabaidya has instructed forest officials to convey the message of love for animals and the environment in general among the public in order to boost conservation efforts significantly.
Minister Suklabaidya said, ‘The message about the importance of raising public awareness about wildlife conservation and nature as a whole among the people has to be generated to bring about a change in mindset ‘as our existence hinges on it’.
“To maintain ecological balance, we must communicate the importance of protecting our flora and fauna, as well as our rich biodiversity. Otherwise, our own existence and that of future generations will be risked “he added.
Suklabaidya also urged people to step forward to assist protect the environment, as “government alone cannot do it.”
The Minister also praised those who adopted animals and asked those who can contribute to the cause to do so.
Appreciating the forest officials and personnel for the conservation of wildlife and forests, Suklabaidya said, “The Assam State Zoo has made remarkable turnaround with more and more visitors coming to the zoo. About one million people visit the zoo annually. The animals are happy and healthy, thanks to the care and affection showered on them by the zoo keepers and other forest personnel. All this augurs well for the state zoo in the days to come.”
PCCF (Wildlife), Amit Sahai said that many programmes have been chalked out for the week-long celebrations with each day marked for a certain animal.
“We will celebrate the Wildlife Week in a befitting manner by observing Elephant Day, Hollock Gibbon Day, Turtle Day, Dolphin Day and so on and so forth to create awareness on these animals and their habitats,” he added.
Sahai said that the man-elephant conflicts have been due to shrinkage in habitats of pachyderm following encroachment. He urged everyone to live and let live in complete communion with animals.
The inaugural function, was attended, among others, by PCCF and HoFF, Alaka Bhargava, Additional PCCFs, Paban Kumar Agarwal, Satyen Singh and Somen Mohapatra, DFO, Assam State Zoo, Dr. Ashwini Kumar.