Prince William, Kate to meet anti-poaching staff in Kaziranga

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) An interaction with anti-poaching staff and a visit to an animal rehabilitation centre are being lined up for Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, during their visit to the Kaziranga National Park in Assam on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The royal couple will arrive in Tezpur, some 90 minutes’ drive from Kaziranga, on Tuesday evening, and will be received by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

They will be taken to the Difflo River Lodge adjacent to the national park, famed for its one-horned rhinoceros, for their two-night stay.

“The next morning (Wednesday), they will be taken to the Bagori range where they will be shown photographs of the park,” M. Ali, director of the Kaziranga National Park, told IANS over phone from Kohora in Assam.

“Thereafter, they will embark on a one-and-half hours’ jeep safari to see the fauna inhabiting the park,” he said.

The weather is expected to be warm, as it normally is in April in this part of the country.

After the safari, the royal couple will interact with the park’s frontline anti-poaching staff at a place called Dimoli, according to the park director.

The royal couple will then go to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) under the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and visit a centre for treatment of captive elephants named after British conservationist Mark Shand. He was the brand ambassador of the park till time of his death in April 2014.

There they will interact with veterinary doctors of the centre.

During their stay in the park, the royal couple will be presented with a cultural programme, including Bihu and Jhumur dances, by the residents of two local villages.

As the visit comes on the eve of the state’s biggest festival, Bohag Bihu, Prince William and Kate will also be treated to Assamese delicacies like pithas (rice cakes) and laroos (sweet balls) among other dishes.

The royal couple will leave for Bhutan on Thursday.

Apart from being world famous for the successful conservation of the one-horned rhinoceros, Kaziranga is also believed to be the most densely habited tiger region in the world.

Kaziranga is also home to the Asiatic wild buffalo, swamp deer, sambar, hog deer and over 500 species of birds.

Preliminary notification of Kaziranga as a reserve forest was issued in 1950.

It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1950 and a national park in 1974.

In 1985, the park was declared as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The year 2005 marked the centenary year of the successful biodiversity conservation of the Kaziranga National Park.

(Aroonim Bhuyan can be contacted at aroonim.b@ians.in)

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