THE BACKGROUND STORY
The story dates back to 1989 when a group of young environment enthusiasts, started a nature club and named it Aaranyak. The first project that they embarked on was to protect the white winged wood-duck (locally called Deo Hah) from extinction. A rare breed, this species of the bird found in the Dibru-Saikhowa sanctuary was at the mercy of poachers. One of the main reasons was the leasing out of Fisheries inside the Sanctuary by the State Govt. which resulted in the area being open to all sorts of human trangressions. Sensing the gross violation of India's Wildlife and Forest Protection Acts, Aaranyak filed a petition requesting the State government to uphold its constitutional duty of protecting the wild life of the region. The verdict was in favor of Aaranyak. From that point onwards, there was no looking back.
The success of his maiden project inspired the team to take bigger strides and venture into more challenging arenas along the path. From a club that met every Sunday with local youths to discuss issues regarding the environment, Aaranyak over the years has graduated into an organization that addresses a wide spectrum of issues in its domain. Currently, it is also a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which is the world's largest conservation organization.
Over the years, it has established itself as a successful entity in the mainstream of environmental research and conservation with 28 project sites all across North East India. By maintaining databases and liaising with law enforcement agencies to conduct raids and recover wildlife materials, Aaranyak monitors the wild life crime in the Eastern Himalayas. Research and training is conducted on biodiversity and wetland assessment and monitoring with the aid of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and remote sensing tools in various attitudinal habitats. Aaranyak has formed partnerships with the neighboring countries of Nepal and Bhutan and has provided training to officials for the use of GIS technology and impact assessment.
One of Aaranyak's remarkable achievement, the project “Restoration of important habitats of Gangetic dolphins” secured the first place in an international online public voting competition organized by the European Outdoor Conservation Association. A Switzerland-based non-profit association, EOCA will be funding the project with a grant of 30,000 Euros.
The most recent feather on the cap of Aaranyak is the conferment of the 2012 Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Purashkar by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change for its outstanding work towards protection and overall improvement of the environment.