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 bird species 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 Government which resulted in the area being open to all sorts of human transgressions. 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 wildlife of the region. The verdict was in favour of Aaranyak. From that point onwards, there was no looking back.
The success of this 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 Aaranyak has carved a niche for itself in the field of biodiversity research and conservation not only in North East India, but as a leading environment and bio-diversity conservation organization at a national and international level. It has established itself as a prominent player in the global network of institutions involved in nature conservation and its resources. Aaranyak is on a mission to contribute towards protection of nature by providing key inputs to biodiversity management based on quality research on ecosystems, environmental education, capacity building, legal and policy research.
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 had funded the project with a grant of 30,000 Euros.
The most significant 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.
THRUST AREAS OF WORK
Aaranyak is a closely knit team of environmental scientists, researchers, community workers, educators and environmental legal specialists who have excelled in their respective fields by virtue of dedication, commitment, integrity, transparency and above all, team spirit. Our team is always focused on facilitating enough space for individuals to emerge as leaders through skill development. Aaranyak is anchored on a firm research and development base that is supplemented by toiling in the field by our teams working to achieve conservation goals. It has formulated a number of conservation strategies or Divisions specific to North East India to address crucial environment issues. The Divisions blend science and technology resources with involvement of stakeholders to rediscover the traditional peaceful co-existence of man and wildlife in this region. There are 14 major Divisions that form the core of Aaranyak’s conservation strategy, out of which 8 revolves around some of the key threatened species of North East India. The other Divisions undertake various focussed approaches for biodiversity research and conservation in the region.