Narendra Singh Chaudhary (55),
DFO, Lansdowne Division, Uttarahand
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In a career spanning over 30 years, Narendra Singh Chaudhary, currently the Divisional Forest Officer of Lansdowne Division, Uttarakhand, has single-handedly facilitated a sea-change in the government perception of forest services, by introducing training courses for frontline staff, stressing on the importance of buffer zones and personally targeting poachers and taking them to task.
Starting as a forest ranger in 1977 in the dense Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh, Chaudhary has worked in some of the most tiger- and biodiversity-rich parks across Uttarakhand including Corbett, Govind National Park and the recently notified Benog Wildlife Sanctuary. As the DFO of Lansdowne Division, he has brought the government to realize the importance of the regions between Corbett and Rajaji National Parks, as a zone thriving with tigers and has been pushing for at least a wildlife division status for Lansdowne.
“That issue has come a long way now and soon, we are expecting the regions adjacent ranges of Kotri, Lansdowne and Dugadda to be declared as buffer zones of Corbett Tiger Reserve,” he explains. The journey to make this possible was a hard one he says: “After years of camera trappings, scientific research, I was able to establish that this zone is rich in wildlife like elephants and tigers. In fact, my research in the dense Lansdowne forest even indicated the number of tigers passing through this zone were often much higher than the count in Corbett itself.”
Among Chaudhary’s ground breaking work is the introduction of wildlife certificate course for the frontline forest staff while serving as the director of Corbett Wildlife Training Centre, Kalagarh between 2007-2010. It was here that India got its first official Nature Guide course. Also, importance was given to equipping the frontline staff with specialization like crime control and investigation.
Incidentally, Chaudhary has taken to task several poachers in the forests of Corbett including some influential politicians equipped with guns and revolvers.