Activities of Wildlife Wing

The Wildlife Wing of the Forest Department of the State of Meghalaya is headed by the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife who also functions as the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) of the State, for the purpose of implementation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act,1972. In compliance to the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 certain Non-Government Organisation who are interested in working for the conservation of wildlife have also been appointed and empowered as Honorary Wildlife Wardens (HWW) of respective Districts to assist the Chief Wildlife Warden in implementation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

Wild life management and implementation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 in the State is entrusted to 4 (four) Divisional Forest Officers, namely:-

Division Jurisdiction Contact
Divisional Forest Officer
Khasi Hills Wild life Division, Shillong
Ri-Bhoi, East, West & South West Khasi Hills Districts 2226181
Divisional Forest Officer
Jaintia Hills Wild Life Division, Jowai
East & West Jaintia Hills Districts 224003
Divisional Forest Officer
East and West Garo Hills Wildlife Division, Tura
East, West, North and South West Garo Hills Districts 232225
Director
Balpakram National Park, Baghmara
Balpakram National Park
South Garo hills
234220

The State Board for Wildlife is constituted as per the Section 6 of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 as amended in 2013.
The State Board for Wildlife is chaired by the Chief Minister, is the highest body in the State for making policy decisions on Wildlife conservation, which gives direction to the functioning of the Wildlife wing. The Minister in-charge of Forests is the Vice-Chairperson while the Chief Wildlife Warden is the Member-Secretary of the Board.

Functions of the Wildlife Wing:-

The wing is charged with the task of implementing the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972. The main strategies aimed to be achieved are as follows: -

  • To provide for long term ecological security of the State by identifying, protecting and conserving the basic nature of floral and faunal ecosystems and to restore degraded areas.
  • Protection and Management of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Community Reserves of the State
  • To sensitize local communities on conservation issues through awareness programmes and involving them in conservation efforts through formation of Community Reserve.
  • Protection and Conservation of Wildlife and its Habitat outside Protected Areas on participatory mode
  • To enhance economic development strategies in fringe villages for their socio-economic upliftment and to reduce their dependency on the PAs and wildlife habitats.
  • To reduce man animal conflict and rescuing of Wild animals
  • To ensure effective control of poaching and illegal trade of wildlife products

All management activities in the PAs are carried out in accordance with prescriptions of site specific management plans which adopt an ecosystem approach to management, except in certain cases where species oriented approach is required e.g. Project Elephant. The annual plan of operations of each of the PAs are based on the respective management plans, which are a mixture of scientific prescriptions, focusing on conservation needs, habitat needs and ecological concerns of the area.  Plan objectives include the development of people living in the fringe areas so as to reduce their dependence on the core areas and securing their co-operation in the management of these protected areas.

Conservation Awareness and Education:

Awareness and educative programmes are taken up on a continuous basis in appropriate areas. The implication of Wildlife Acts & Rules and conservation issues in local languages are published.
Every year, programmes are held, involving all levels of schools and colleges, in various activities acquainting them with conservations issues and obtaining feedback and opinions to gauge the thinking of the young generation and to impart awareness for nature conservation. These activities culminate in Wildlife Week celebrations during the first week of every October. Lectures and discussions are also held in villages around PAs and other managed areas, on issues of mutual interest.
The State has two mini Zoos at Shillong and Tura and a recreational park at Umiam which are being managed with the objective of creating appreciation and concern for nature and wildlife conservation.

Protection and Law enforcement

There is a constant demand for wildlife products from these areas and other parts of the country, in the neighboring South East Asian Countries. Shillong is an important transit point for these illegal trade in wildlife products.
The traditional practices of community hunting and meat eating habit of the people in and around this state puts the wildlife of the state (which are mostly located in the vast habitats outside government control) in constant danger. Wildlife protection is therefore a priority area. Notable achievements are the eradication of community hunting in and around the Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary and closure of illegal sale of rare species of butterflies of the State – on orders of the High Court. With the help of the police and custom department, considerable seizures had been made of elephant and tiger products.

Development of PAs

These activities include works like weed eradication, maintenance of water holes and salt licks, improvement of wetlands and fire protection which are done as part of habitat ameliorative measures to contain the wildlife population in the PAs. Patrolling camps are constructed to facilitate proper protection to wildlife.
Development of local village communities through Eco development works are also an integral part of wildlife management. Villages identified for eco-development are those where the people’s activities have a bearing on the PAs. These measures are aimed at socio economic up-liftment and includes works like raising of horticultural plantations, fuel wood and fodder plantations, Non-Timber Forest Product nursery, supply of handlooms, bee hives boxes, providing water supply to the villages and equipment to schools such as benches and blackboard, fishery ponds etc. The types of activities taken up depend upon the needs, requirement, skills and living habit of the people involved.

Other activities proposed in the newly constituted elephant reserves are habitat improvement for providing food and shelter to animals in degraded habitats and protection measures in the form of patrolling camps along important routes and corridors.