Conservation and development

A team of scientists from the Wildlife Institution of India (WII), Dehradun, is in the Siang valley to conduct research on wildlife in the region. The team, as reported, will conduct a comprehensive survey on wildlife, with special focus on extinct and endangered species. Studies on social and economic impact associated with wildlife will also be carried out, besides scientific photography, sound tracking, and documentation of wildlife species. The team is retracing the historical route of the wildlife survey which was conducted along the Siang river basin by the British during the early 19th century, for a comparative study.
One month is not enough time for quality research, even though there exists commendable body of work on the wildlife in the Siang valley for ready reference. Also in a stunning move, the Forum for Siang Dialogue (FSD) has sought an assurance from the WII team that the information gathered by them will not be used to justify building dams on the Siang River. The WII expedition is funded by New Delhi-based Hemchand Mohidra Ltd, and is being coordinated by the forest department of the state. Onus lies with WII team to present credible report with sole aim of protecting rich biodiversity of Siang valley. It remains to be seen what will be the final outcome of the research, but there is no doubt that the state has seen its wildlife population dwindling because of the habitat loss. Everywhere, there has been huge destruction of wildlife habitats in order to make way for roads, bridges, and settled agriculture. There must be a middle path where wildlife conservation and development process go side by side.