Baripada: Even as tiger population in the country is on the decline, ‘India For Tiger – A rally on Wheel’ promoted by the Union Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change as part of celebrating Azadi Ki Amrut Mahotsav, concluded at a ceremony at Baripada Friday.
The rally on wheels was aimed at promoting tiger conservation and biodiversity across the country through public awareness.
The rally on wheels, which was kicked off in Telangana, passed through various parts of the country before reaching Kuliana Friday night where the forest department received the rally participants.
A bicycle rally was also flagged off at Bhanjapur in Baripada town to mark Gandhi Jayanti Saturday. The rally was concluded at Murgabadi. A ceremony was organized at Prayas Hall here.
Both the rallies assumed importance for public awareness amid sporadic reports of poaching and wildlife smuggling in Similipal and other areas.
Field Director of Similipal Tiger Project, M Jagjayanand presided over the meeting while former member of NTCA Debabrata Swain was present.
Speaking on the occasion, Swain said Similipal sanctuary can be well protected if forest officials come forward and relieve the burden of tribals and people living around the sanctuary.
“If siali lata (a kind of creeper) and bamboo are regenerated aplenty inside the forests, wildlife can stay safe inside and would not come out into towns and villages,” he noted.
Dwelling upon the subject of protection of environment and wildlife, Zilla Parishad chairperson Sujata Murmu said, “There is a need to focus on 3T – tribals, trees and tigers. Focusing on these three factors will ensure welfare of tribals and tigers, she added.
Udala MLA Prakash Madhei suggested steps to organise Similipal Mahotsav to create public awareness on protection of the sanctuary.
Morada MLA Rajkishore Das, deputy director of STP (South) Samrat Gouda, deputy director of STP (North) Sai Kiran, deputy director of NSTR (Andhra Pradesh), C Chaitanya, Baripada DFO Santosh Joshi and member of Save Elephant Foundation Rajanikant Jena underscored the need for various protective measures for Similipal and wildlife.
On the occasion, four sub-divisional level forest officials were awarded Biju Pantaik Puraskar for their remarkable contributions towards protection of Similipal sanctuary.
Two frontline officers engaged in protection of elephants and 14 officials of STP and forest ranges of Similipal were also awarded.