GUWAHATI: On the occasion of International Primates Day, a series of collaborative awareness programmes were organised across Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday.
The day served as a platform that not only raised awareness about primate conservation but also foster a sense of responsibility and connection among students, communities, and conservation enthusiasts, ultimately contributing to the preservation of these invaluable species in the Northeast’s rich biodiversity.
In Assam, the Department of Zoology at Jawaharlal Nehru College in Boko hosted audio-visual lectures on the region’s primate species, engaging discussions with students on the pressing issue of primate conservation in Assam. Dr Rekha Chetry, Associate Professor, and Nanda Devi, Associate Professor of the Department of Zoology, served as resource persons, enriching the event with their expertise.
The Western Assam Zone of Aaranyak, a biodiversity conservation organisation, in partnership with the Aie Valley Forest Division in Bongaigaon district and the Department of Botany at Abhayapuri College, organised an event at Hapachara Madhya and High School in Bongaigaon district.
The day commenced with a drawing competition among students in two categories. An awareness meeting, presided over by the head master of the school, Ramen Chandra Barman, provided a platform for further insights. Dharam Ranjan Roy, a dedicated member of Aaranyak, delivered a succinct lecture emphasising the significance of International Primate Day. Dr Ashoke Kumar Das, the Coordinator of Aaranyak West Zone, shed light on the current state of non-human primate families, particularly those residing in Assam. As the school neighbours the Kakoijana Reserve forest, habitat of the critically endangered Golden langur, he appealed to students and teachers to actively participate in the conservation of these majestic creatures and their habitats.
Dr Subrata Sarkar from the Botany department of Abhayapuri College shared insights on the pivotal role that primates and other animals play in forest ecosystems, underscoring the urgency of their conservation. During the event, prizes were awarded to talented students who excelled in the drawing competition.
Further south, in Oxiguri Forest Village under the Western Range of Raimona National Park, Kachugaon Forest Division and Aaranyak jointly celebrated International Primate Day at No.999 Oxiguri LP School. The primary goal was to raise awareness about the importance of Golden Langurs and strengthen the bond between the park and the local community. The event was graced by Assam Gourav awardee Dharanidhar Boro, Bhanu Sinha, Divisional Forest Officer, Kachugaon Division, and Dr Firoz Ahmed, Scientist-F of Aaranyak. Interactive sessions with students and local villagers facilitated a deeper understanding of the significance of primate conservation in the region.
An art competition involving 29 enthusiastic students was held, drawing participation from 120 individuals, including schoolchildren, local villagers, and forest staff. The event fostered a sense of community engagement and highlighted the importance of protecting these remarkable primates and their habitats in Northeast India.
In Lohit district, Arunachal Pradesh, screening of short films centred around primates and audio-visual lectures focusing on the species with a special emphasis on the Hoolock Gibbon were organised in schools.
A score of students actively participated in discussions, deepening their understanding of these remarkable creatures. The programme also saw distribution of educational materials, including books and posters on Gibbon conservation. Aaranyak’s invaluable resources, Mridupaban Phukan and Akshay Upadhya, played pivotal roles in orchestrating the event.