‘British royals Kaziranga visit will heighten global awareness’

Kolkata, April 13 (IANS) Noted elephant trainer and conservationist Parbati Barua feels the visit by Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to Assam’s Kaziranga National Park will spur global awareness on conservation of rhinos and elephants, as well as other species.

“There will be a positive change… their visit will definitely heighten awareness on conservation of endangered species. This will be possible because the state is receiving global attention due to the couple’s visit,” Guwahati-based Barua told IANS.

Hailing from the erstwhile royal family of the Baruas of Gauripur, now in Assam’s Goalpara district, Barua is said to be the only female elephant trainer (mahout) in the world.

She came to the limelight following the BBC documentary “Queen of the Elephants” based on her life, along with the companion book by late Mark Shand, brother of the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla, who is the second wife of Charles, Prince of Wales and father of Prince William.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured Kaziranga National Park on Wednesday and excitedly clicked photographs when they spotted one-horned rhinos, elephants, swamp deer and other wild animals during their two-hour safari.

The British royal couple also interacted with the forest staff who guard the park.

The park, home to the rare one-horned rhinos, is a Unesco World Heritage site.

The couple also visited the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation located near the national park.

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