Kaziranga to get its first woman director

Forest officials said IFS officer Sonali Ghosh would become the first woman to hold charge as the head of the 118-year-old Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve

Updated - August 26, 2023 02:54 pm IST

Published - August 26, 2023 02:53 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Representational image of hog deer grazing inside Kaziranga National Park

Representational image of hog deer grazing inside Kaziranga National Park | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

GUWAHATI More than a century after a woman played a key role in the birth of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, a woman would hold the reins of the world’s best-known address of the one-horned rhino.

The Assam government on August 25 named Indian Forest Service officer Sonali Ghosh as the next field director of the Kaziranga National Park.

Currently the Chief Conservator of Forests (Research, Education and Working Plan), she would take over from incumbent Jatindra Sarma on September 1.

Mr. Sarma retires on August 31, a notification signed by Md Farouk Alam, Commissioner and Secretary to the State’s Environment and Forest Department, said.

Forest officials said Ms. Ghosh would become the first woman to hold charge as the head of the 118-year-old Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

IFS Officer Sonali Ghosh

IFS Officer Sonali Ghosh | Photo Credit: LinkedIn

Regarded as one of the world’s conservation success stories, the 1,355 sq. km tiger reserve is estimated to have 2,613 greater one-horned rhinos (March 2022 census). It also boasts of a high tiger density.

Baroness Mary Victoria Leiter Curzon, the wife of the then Viceroy, Lord George Nathaniel Curzon, is said to have played a key role in the birth of Kaziranga after she visited the area in 1904. She asked her husband to take necessary steps on the advice of Balaram Hazarika alias Nigona Shikari, an animal tracker who had shown her around and underlined the need to save the rhinos from being wiped out by game hunters and poachers.

Kaziranga’s journey to being declared a tiger reserve began with the Proposed Reserve Forest tag on June 1, 1905.

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