The Sikkim government has decided to recruit villagers as honorary mountain guardians or Himal Rakshaks. The decision has already been notified in the state gazette, which says that only villagers with high concern for wildlife conservation and "clean personal records residing in high altitude regions will be recruited for the posts".
According to forest officials, the step is for the conservation of the Himalayan ecosystem and to encourage public participation in managing the forests. The mountain guardians will also be imparted training to control poaching, illegal trade in wild animals, prevent damage to wildlife habitats and smuggling of medicinal and aromatic plants.
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