At Intanki National Park. (Photo Courtesy: Rokovotso Meyase & Khamatho Joshoury)
Rokovotso Meyase & Khamatho Joshoury undertake dual expedition covering the National Park in shortest possible time
Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | October 7
Scripting a major chapter in wildlife exploration, Rokovotso Meyase from Dzüleke and Khamatho Joshoury from Lephori village, who are both Forest Guards at Intanki National Park have made history by undertaking a dual expedition covering the National Park in the shortest possible time.
The duo undertook the expedition earlier this year from March 24-30 on a continuous track along the boundary lines with GPS recording, and covering a distance of 143.39 kilometres in precisely 6 days, 7 hours and 20 minutes.
“Being able to see different species of animals in their natural habitat and witness their behaviour in the wild have further fuelled my interest and knowledge about the importance of preserving Intanki National Park, which is our hidden gem and the pride of our state,” said Khamatho Joshoury even while emphasizing on the need to protect these animals and preserving their habitat so as to coexist in harmony.
During the expedition, the duo had spotted a variety of wildlife such as monkeys, pheasants, jungle fowls, stags, snakes, and hornbill to name a few.
“In the beginning, the journey was quite pleasant but the moment we entered the second day track, our physical started to call us back home,” Rokovotso Meyase recalled while highlighting that, “the further we moved into the Park, we started missing home, our camp, and our family members.” Terming the third day as the worst day, meaning to say it was the toughest day, he said that “the rain was too heavy and it was windy; and we trekked for more than 2 hours in the rain.”
The duo put up in a single makeshift tent, drank sand water/unfiltered water on the second day, even as they carried their own ration and cooked and ate wherever they put up for the night. They reached their dropping point for food on the fourth day—at exactly halfway of the expedition.
While pitching their makeshift tent, he said, “the riskiest thing is the elephants” even while explaining that, “we were not scared but we were cautious of the elephants.” Venturing deeper into the wild where there is no network, no lights, and no sign of human habitation, they also put up a sign indicating that they have crossed a particular area after every 10-kilometre trek. Before they began the expedition, they had also briefed their crew members especially citing 3 selected spots so their friends could trace them should anything happen to them.
“On day two, three, and four, we wanted to give up on the expedition, because we felt too tired and the journey was full of challenges, but going back would mean covering the same distance we set out to cover,” Meyase went on to say. “The longest distance covered in a day is 27 kilometres, which was on the final day and the shortest distance covered is 16 kilometres on day two because our bodies were still trying to adapt to the environment,” he further recalled.
‘Trees have their own language; Every wildlife speaks to you’
While the Intanki Expedition was clearly a most daunting adventure, Rokovotso Meyase however asserted that “the best part of it was every new turning, every new river course, and every new vegetation” that undoubtedly gave them a new experience and a new view throughout the entire expedition.
For him, the expedition also gave him a greater zeal to conserve and preserve Intanki National Park, besides a better understanding of the vegetation and wildlife in Intanki. “I wish every Naga would come together and conserve our National Park,” he stated.
“God created so many marvellous things, and so many different species of wildlife. It is such a wonder,” he further expressed. While we have learnt that a tree cannot speak, he strongly felt that “trees have their own language” while adding that, he felt that during the course of the expedition. Putting across that conservation is a must, he went on to say that, ‘every wild life speaks to you’ only if one listens.’
Despite all the risks and challenges involved, for Khamatho Joshoury, it was their desire and zeal “to experience unique elements of nature and its beauty that pushed us to undertake the adventure and share our experience with the world the importance of conserving nature and its habitat.”
Terming the expedition as “thrilling” and “an unforgettable experience,” he further expressed that, “for all these, we give glory to our Almighty God who guided us and blessed us with good health throughout the mission. Thanks to our director, range officer and fellow staffs for your constant guidance and logistic support throughout our expedition!”
The happiest day, Rokovotso Meyase shared, “was the final day of the expedition because we were coming home and it was so heart-warming to have friends welcoming us at the finishing line.”
“That night, we had chicken for dinner, prepared by our teammates. They also fed us with chicken soup,” he fondly recalled. They had ended their trek exactly at the point where they first started the expedition, and are back with an even greater passion for wildlife.