After return from deputation to MOEF-Govt. of
and Wildlife Institute of India, from 19
November 1987 I started living with my family in the campus of
Crocodile Research Centre at Ramatirtha on the outskirts of Similipal Tiger
Reserve. Within two weeks, Mr Amarendra Lal Bose (ALB) came with his family to
meet us at Ramatirtha. A short, soft-spoken person wearing spotless white dhoti
and kurta, Amarendra Babu talked about a range of subjects relating to wildlife
and the founder Field Director of Similipal—Mr Saroj Raj Choudhury. I took the
family around the crocodile project, and the family left Ramatirtha in the
evening for Baripada to their ancestral home. I learnt from the Range Officer
that ALB was the main person who introduced Mr Choudhury and his pet tigress
Khairi to the world through a series of popular writings in Calcutta-based
newspapers. I collected some of the press clippings. Amarendra Babu’s pen was
really mightier than a sword when it concerned the safe future of Similipal.
In 1987 Amarendra Babu’s family had invited us to visit them at Baripada but we couldn’t do that until 1995. After my father’s death at Ramatirtha, we shifted to Baripada in November 1994. From that time onwards I found a real ‘friend’ with whom I could discuss research. ALB used to get information about my activities and reach me for answers to a series of questions. Sometimes I felt Amarendra Babu was the only academically-oriented person with whom I could discuss my research at length. It gave me satisfaction and his reports in media were well researched.
When I completed the first ever draft of Project Elephant document for Orissa and discussed the same at a state level meeting on
10 August 1989
in Bhubaneswar, Amarendra Bbau
recognized the conservation material in entire exercise and gave it for
national readership through Times of India. Similar releases were about
research findings related pugmark tracking, melanistic tiger, elephant
movements, designing of the first ecodevelopment scheme, the biosphere reserve
planning, the sighting of sub-Himalayan Red-breasted Falconet, etc. In his late
sixties ALB was able to move in his bicycle and was competing with young
persons for reaching a report first.
Once Amarendra Babu visited us with his wife and suggested to my wife Puspa for daily chanting of Gayatri Mantra for tiding away the difficult times in life and health. After my wife’s death in June 2003, we shifted to
bringing an end to direct field studies in Similipal. But from my location in
Wildlife Headquarters I was able to know about Amarendra Babu’s assuming
position as Honorary Wildlife Warden ofMayurbhanj, and then his selection for
the award of State Biju Patnaik Prize for Wildlife Conservation in 2010.
On 15th July Similipal lost for everone of its old supporters, I lost a family and academic friend, and Odisha lost one of its wildlife award winners. May the soul of Amarendra Babu rest in peace and his family members have the strength to tide over the loss.
Amarendra Lal Bose, Similipal, Khairi, Baripada, S R Choudhury, Project Elephant Orissa.