GUWAHATI: The first Asian Ranger Forum (ARF) began at the Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati, bringing together 146 participants from 20 countries, including 35 women rangers.
A collaborative initiative towards global environment conservation by Department of Environment and Forest, the inaugural ceremony witnessed Forest Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary as the chief guest and his Maharashtra counterpart Sudhir Mungantiwar as the special guest of honour.
In his address, Minister Patowary highlighted the crucial role of Assam’s forest rangers in not only combating poaching but also spearheading habitat management initiatives.
“Besides, they play a key role in mitigating man-animal conflicts, implementing strategies to minimise damage to crops, protecting human settlements, safely relocating animals, etc. They must be applauded for such exemplary service in trying conditions,” he said.
Expressing the need for more collaborative platforms such as the ARF, Minister Patowary also stressed on the need to synergise efforts across the ASEAN region and beyond for enhanced forest and wildlife protection.
Minister Mungantiwar, while admitting that it will be a Herculean task to achieve the goal of 30% forest cover on the planet by 2030, said, “No Prime Minister or President on earth will be able to solve the problem of depleting biodiversity unless every one of us contribute towards the efforts.”
The 4-day event aims to foster knowledge exchange, collaboration, and strategic planning among rangers from diverse backgrounds, creating a united front in the global conservation efforts.
Minister Patowary’s lauded the exemplary service rendered by the state’s forest rangers for often putting their lives on the line for wildlife protection.
The event is a collaborative effort by the Environment and Forest Department of Assam, Aaranyak, International Ranger Federation (IRF), Ranger Federation of Asia (RFA), and the Universal Ranger Support Alliance (URSA), in partnership with various NGOs.