Researchers, filmmaker oppose constructing road through PTR

LIMI, Mar 5: The Centre’s proposal to construct a road under the East-West Industrial Corridor project in the state, bisecting the Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR), continues to evoke strong opposition from various quarters, including wildlife researchers and filmmakers.
They say that, if constructed, the road would not only endanger the rare and enigmatic wildlife of the tiger reserve but also lead it to becoming a dead forest.
“My interest in wildlife started with my multiple encounters with birds and animals in my backyard at my home near PTR. Counting hornbills, migratory birds, nursing turtles and a leopard cub are some of my most cherished childhood memories,” said wildlife researcher from Seijosa, Laxmi Langlang.
“To pursue my passion, I studied forestry for my bachelors and got the opportunity to study wildlife science at the Wildlife Institute of India for my master’s degree. I also did my dissertation on human-wildlife conflict around the PTR, during which I saw our beautiful and rich forest more closely and interacted with the frontline staff of the forest department and our community, who work very hard to protect the PTR,” Langlang said.
She added: “The proposed highway through Pakke will result in fragmenting the pristine forest of PTR and will undergo damages that will not only endanger the rare and enigmatic wildlife we have but also deprive our future generations of precious experience and memories.”
“I grew up in and around the PTR. Our Pakke has one of the richest biodiversity in the world. My experience of field work and doing research started from the PTR,” said Feppy Tayam, a forestry student.
“I have so many memories of growing up and seeing my elders chasing the elephants during nighttime from the paddy field to counting hornbills in the evening that fly above me. I want our younger generations to witness the same,” she said.
Tayam opined that if the construction of the road is approved through the core of the tiger reserve, it would destroy the richness and diversity of the area.
“Our area needs development and good road connectivity, but not at the cost of the PTR and its biodiversity,” Tayam said.
Filmmaker and photographer Rajen Tachang from Seijosa opined that the proposed road, if constructed, would cause more damage than bring good.
“A forest without wild animals is a dying forest. Dying forests are all around us and we have to learn from it. I do not want to see PTR damaged and disturbed,” Tachang said.
“PTR is our source of pride and identity. We are known to people outside as an example that we have fought to protect our rich biodiversity, making PTR a conservation model not only for Arunachal Pradesh but the whole of Northeast India,” he said.