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First Muga Wildlife Sanctuary set up in BTC

Sentinel (Guwahati), 19th June, 2013

In a significant development, the Sericulture department of BTC in active association of Central Silk Board (CSB) and department of forest has set up the world’s first Muga Wildlife Sanctuary in a fringe village under Manas National Park in BTC region recently considering the importance in the conservation of Muga Silkworm in the wild for future exploitation of the Gene Bank. The sanctuary was set up demarcating 100 acres of land under Rangijhora of Kuklung Forest Range in the fringe areas of Manas National Park.

Sources from Sericulture department said that focus on conserving the Germplasm due to fast erosion of its natural habitats and using them as Mother stocks for inducing speciation, the much awaited world’s first Muga Wildlife Sanctuary has been established in the fringe areas of Manas National Park in BTC. The department of Sericulture in collaboration with the CSB and the department of forest, BTC has taken the decision of project monitoring committee on the meeting of catalytic development programme of BTC and step up for ex–situ and in–situ conservation of the Muga Silkworm in the wild.

The sources from the Muga Wildlife Sanctuary said the establishment of new sanctuary for Muga Silkworm is a landmark achievement for being the world’s first wildlife sanctuary for Muga Silkworm in particular and sericigenus insects in general. Sources said the silk produced by the Muga Silkworm (Antheraea assamensis) is found in India mainly Assam, Burma and Sundaland. The Sundaland is a biogeographical region of South Eastern Asia that includes Malaya Peninsula on the Asian mainland as well as the large island of Java, Sumatra and Borneo of Indonesia. The Muga culture has been an age old practice in the North Eastern part of India especially in Assam. The women adapt in weaving a Muga fabric and are the second agrarian option to an agriculturist and such is the emotional attachment to the culture that it has carved out a niche in the socio–cultural milieu of the people of the region, particularly amongst the people of Assam.

Sources also said historically Muga culture migrated in Assam from a village in Northern Burma called the ‘Punj kong village’ which is Burmese language meaning Muga rearing village.

The Muga Wildlife Sanctuary was inaugurated by the EM of BTC Sericulture Deben Boro in presence of Secretary PK Hazoary, Joint Secretary, SCB, Ministry of Textile, government of India– Sarat Deory, Suvasis Das, DFO, Chirang, Jogesh Deory, Director of Sericulture, BTC, Hara Kanta Hazarika, Assistant Director of Sericulture, Udalguri and other officials and activists of NGO and Societies.