Manas National Park (Assam) – Having realised the futility of violence, many individuals who were into poaching or worked as militant cadres, are now saving wildlife and promoting tourism in Assam, which includes the Manas National Park.
Pople of “Uttarkuchi” and adjoining villages in lower Assam have witnessed the damage caused to nature and wildlife in the last 20 years by poachers and militants.
To safeguard wildlife and nature, Bijoy Chaudhary, a former cadre of Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) insurgent group started a wildlife conservation society in 2006 at Uttarkuchi called MANAS SOUSI KHONGKHOR Eco-TOURISM (SOCIETY).
With Bijoy’s encouragement, several militants and poachers today have surrendered and come together to conserve wildlife and promote tourism.
“My objective is to bring back the beauty of nature which has been destroyed. This will attract tourists to the state. Through this the youth too will be engaged in productive activities,” said Bijoy Chaudhary, Chairman and former Bodo Liberation Tigers cadre.
The society presently has around 66 members. Many of them are former poachers and militants.
“Earlier we stayed in the village and used to poach the animals. But with the help of Bijoy Chaudhary we surrendered and he helped us get jobs in this NGO. Now we protect the animals and trees of this forest,” said Lohit Boro, a former poacher.
“When we catch people inside the forest our duty is to make them understand what will happen if the forests are destroyed and why they should be protected. And we also help them understand the beauty of nature,” said Mangal Basumatary, a former poacher.
Till date the society has set up three active camps for wildlife conservation in the area.