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Arunachal: 2nd Eagle Nest Birding fest underway in West Kameng

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Saturday declared open the second edition of ‘Eagle Nest Birding Festival’ at the Oaktum Thongre village in West Kameng district.

To mark the occasion, Khandu unveiled two community reserves – Tukpon and Sungkhit – of 18 and 25 sq kms respectively, donated by the villagers.

The reserves will be preserved and used by the community members for promotion of tourism in the area.

Addressing the occasion, Khandu lauded the members of the Sherdukpen community inhabiting the Shergaon valley for the initiative, which he said, would go a long way in preserving the rich biodiversity of Arunachal.

He assured to officially declare the festival as a calendar event of the state government and asked the authorities to submit a proposal in this regard after finalizing a date for the event.

Terming the ‘Airgun Surrender Abhiyan’ of the state’s forest and environment department as a major initiative, Khandu said people have voluntarily surrendered their guns used for hunting.

“This is in turn has resulted in an abrupt rise of bird population across the state,” he said.

The Airgun Surrender Abhiyan aims to dissuade wildlife hunting and create awareness on the ill-effects of killing wildlife.

The chief minister informed that Arunachal Pradesh is home to more than 500 species of birds of which 471 are found in Eagle Nest Wildlife sanctuary alone.

He hailed the people of West Kameng residing in the periphery of the sanctuary for preserving the bird species since ages through community mobilizations. He further expressed optimism that creation of the Tukpon and Sungkhit Community Reserves will further boost the preservation of wildlife in the area.

Revealing Arunachal Pradesh as one major carbon sink of the country, Khandu said the state government is exploring possibilities to ‘monetize’ the advantage so that people can benefit from their forests without disturbing the environment and without felling a single tree.

“Please ensure that this Eagle Nest Birding Festival is truly connected to nature devoid of loud music, cultural programs and pollution,” he suggested.

Earlier on the day, Khandu flagged off the Eagle Nest Birding Festival Cycle Challenge 2022 with the theme ‘Say No to Drugs’.

Also present on the occasion were Thrizino-Buragaon MLA and advisor to forest minister Kumsi Sidisow, local legislator Dorjee Wangdi Kharma, army officials and representatives of district administration.

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