• Success Story
PAKKE - At Braveheart´s Terms
by   Raja Chatterjee

Pakke wildlife sanctuary harbours Tigers and the brave hearts. Tucked away in the tough & rugged terrain in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, Pakke is practically one of the last strong holds for Panthera Tigris. A viable population of Tigers has made Pakke more prone to attacks from poachers in the recent years. And the challenge to combat them was squarely taken up by the anti-poaching squad of the sanctuary administration. A true tiger land, teeming with countless life forms of birds, butterflies, insects and mammals made Pakke nature's hidden treasure trove, where poachers prowl practically unnoticed. Encased in high mountains of altitude varying between 100 mtrs – 2300 mtrs and covered with impenetrable rain forests, Pakke
puts every odds forward who dares to venture it. High value tiger parts vaulted in a forest of viable concentration of the species, placed Pakke a prized territory for Tigers. And there goes the brave hearts and foot solders of the sanctuary to turn the table on poachers / its tormentors. Success story of anti poaching operation stands writ here in Pakke of supreme sacrifice.

A leader appeared

It was a gloomy overcast morning of August 24, 2004 when an Assistant Conservator of Forest, Mr. Tana Tapi took over the charge as the Divisional Forest Officer of West Kameng district at its head quarters at Seijusa. He succeeded Mr. Umesh Kumar. A horrible welcome awaited him as weeks before, on July 4, a flash flood had devastated Seijusa and the forests beyond. There was mud and water all around. Roads tithered and communication snapped. As the local population reeled under the havoc, the wildlife across the river was no better either. Staff of the anti poaching camps in remote areas was marooned under water, while one at Ditchu washed away. Approach roads and bridges were severely damaged. Forest Rest House on the east bank of the river Kameng was heavily silted, as was the DFO office and residential colony. Records at the office were damaged beyond recovery. Sand, debris and mud covered all around. Foul smell filled the air while reports of disease like malaria, jaundice, typhoid and diarrhea trickled in from almost every tribal house hold.

Mr. Tana Tapi was quick to accept the task of setting things right. He swung into action with his team, enlarged by able members from the villages around. Apart from desilting his government's property, he volunteered to visit families of the neighborhood. This gesture earned the DFO respect from his staff and the neighbourhood alike. The bondage paved the way for bigger returns for conservation in near future. For next couple of weeks, he worked tirelessly with his men to rescue his staff, restore the roads, repair bridges and ensuring supplies of essentials to the anti poaching out posts besides blocking of all entry points to the sanctuary to outsiders. As the wildlife habitat was greatly damaged, it made wildlife vulnerable there.