Dr Behari: AITE to unfold new species, to make RGU partner

By Pradeep Kumar

ITANAGAR, Apr 29: The ongoing fourth phase survey of All India Tiger Estimation-2018 (AITE) in unexplored Arunachal Pradesh will unfold many new wildlife & bird species, state’s PCCF (WL&BD) CWLW Dr Bipin Behari said on Monday.

Hinting about trapping of critically endangered white-bellied heron for the first time on camera Kamlang Tiger Reserve (KTR) at Wakro, when asked about the expectation of department, he said that Arunachal with 81% forest coverage is one is of the world’s “ecological hotspots” presenting vast range of species and ecosystem diversity in the eastern Himalayas. Thus, it is also considered as one of the 18 “biodiversity hotspots”. “Wait for the outcome,” he said in an exclusive interview to this daily.

Moreover, the WL&BD intends to promote wildlife and biodiversity for which state research advisory committee has approved many research projects, particularly survey of heron by Sikkim-based NGO ARTEE.

When asked will he partner with Rajiv Gandhi University for such projects as its VC Prof. Saket Kushwaha has been keen to make RGU partner of state development, Dr Behari nodded in affirmation saying he had attempted once after his arrival in the state.

Senior WL&BD officer Dr Bharat Bhusan Bhatt, sitting by his side, pitched in to add that three breeding heron pairs have been spotted in KTR in Lohit district during past survey by Zoological Survey of India in 2014. Such survey would help wildlife tourism as state’s eco tourism had drawn national attention, he reasoned.

This bird in 1.27-metre height is the world’s second largest heron, after Goliath heron (1.2-1.5-metre), he said adding it is found only in Bhutan and Arunachal in the world. Its Bhutan population is estimated to be 8.08 lakh in 2017.

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