CWRC, Kaziranga National Park, February 21, 2018: An orientation session on wildlife rescue and rehabilitation was organised for personnel from the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) – the wildlife rescue, care and rehabilitation facility jointly run by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Assam Forest Department near Kaziranga National Park – on February 17.
The orientation was attended by 43 SSB members who serve with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). A team of experts led by CWRC’s Veterinarian-in-charge Dr Panjit Basumatary and the Kaziranga Forest Auhority’s Forest Veterinary Officer Dr Debabrata Phukan conducted the interactive session, which included mock drills and a discussion on the various crisis situations that necessitate the rescue of wild animals.
CWRC regularly conducts such training events at varying levels for visiting groups from the defence and allied forces, and delegates from different forest training institutes in India and abroad. It is one of the orientation centres for cadets of the Indian Forest Service (IFS) and also caters to other forest services at the state level.
In Kaziranga National Park, the biggest crisis to wildlife comes from the annual monsoon floods. The floods inundate large areas of the national park and are beneficial to the area’s vast wetland ecosystem, but bring in their wake widespread displacement of wildlife. This results in an increase in human-wildlife conflict and as such demands the formulation of a systematic wildlife safety plan that involves all important stakeholders, including forest department personnel and local communities. Three pre-flood awareness training events – for frontline forest staff and select youth from villages located on the fringes of Kaziranga – were conducted at CWRC in June last year.