After Thembang and Zemithang, CCA to come up in Shergaon Circle
The Shergaon Circle covers some magnificent forests and shares its boundary with the only protected area of Western Arunachal landscape (WAL), the Eagle Nest Wildlife Sanctuary. On 28 April 2015, the CCA initiative was launched in Shergaon in collaboration with the forest department, the local panchayat and circle officer of Shergaon.
At the event, the concept of CCA was introduced to villagers, panchayat heads and local administrators through stories from Thembang and Zemithang and how the peoples’ collective action to conserve their forests has helped improve their quality of life. A road map was drawn up, in the presence of the community, to implement a similar conservation initiative in Shergaon.
Intensive hunting has been a serious threat to wildlife in the forests of Shergaon. Despite its excellent forest cover, the area has also been notorious for poaching of the Himalayan black bear. Villagers recounted that their forests had a thriving population of sambar deer and even tigers till two decades ago, but massive hunting had driven their tigers to extinction and reduced the prey population. Forests of Shergaon are connected to the plains of Assam where tigers are found. The forests are still favourable habitat for these animals, they said.
Backing the villagers’ enthusiasm were the Shergaon panchayat members, who welcomed the CCA initiative for conservation of natural resources in their village. More than six gaonburah (village headman) attended the workshop along with a few people from neighboring villages as well.
Mr.Millo Tasser, the divisional forest officer, Shergaon, who chaired this event said, “The extent of hunting in our region today is alarming and if it continues uncontrolled, will affect the survival of our wildlife and forests. Enforcement agencies can implement rules, but a strong, robust conservation movement can be developed only if the community spearheads it. If we, as the people of this region, don’t take right steps to safeguard our forests, we may lose our natural heritage soon. The choice is ours.”
Going forward, WWF-India will undertake an intensive consultative exercise to understand the social, cultural and economic facets of the community, so that these may be harnessed to strengthen the CCA initiative.