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Festival boost to Eaglenest

Jorhat, Feb. 1: Paintings of various species of birds found at Eaglenest wildlife sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh will soon adorn the walls of schools located near the avian paradise.

The sanctuary is home to at least 450 species of birds including babblers, herons, black storks, ducks, hawks, eagles, kites, vultures, falcons, pheasants, jungle fowl, quails, woodpeckers, warblers and cormorants.

The initiative is a part of the Arunachal Bird Festival which begins at the sanctuary tomorrow. This is the first time such an event has been organised in the state in a bid to raise awareness about the rich bird diversity and foster an ethic of wildlife conservation among the people.

Indi Glow, a senior official of the Bugun Welfare Society, main organisers of the festival, told this correspondent over phone today that students of at least six schools located near the sanctuary would take part in the wall painting drive on Monday. “Artists will help them paint these birds and they will permanently adorn the school walls,” he said.

Glow said schools selected for the painting drive are Government Middle School (Tenga), Government Secondary School (Singchung), Government Higher Secondary School (Rupa), Roopland Public School (Rupa), Pinewood Public School (Rupa) and Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya (Shergaon).

About 60 children from these schools were also taken for bird watching inside Eaglenest yesterday as part of an awareness campaign.

Two groups of 30 students each were introduced to the spectacular avian diversity at Eaglenest and surrounding areas by experts from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore and the James Cook University, Australia.

The highlight of the trip was the bird-watching walk through the forests around Lama camp, where the newly discovered Bugun Liocichla is found.

“Students participated in a workshop and were given T-shirts painted with various bird species found at Eaglenest. These special T-shirts were contributed by the Wildlife Trust of India,” Glow said. The Arunachal Bird Festival is being organised by the society in association with the tourism department of Arunachal Pradesh and Shergaon forest division. The other partners include the Wildlife Trust of India, WWF-India, Saevus magazine and Sanctuary-Asia magazine.

Glow said the main programme would be held at Singhchung in West Kameng district tomorrow, where the festival will be formally inaugurated. Dignitaries of the tourism and forest departments will address the gathering. Discussions will be held on the importance of eco-tourism and biodiversity.

Prominent members of the Bugun and Shertukepen communities will also address the gathering.

Ramana Athreya, who discovered Bugun Liocichla in 2006, will take the visiting dignitaries to Lama camp. The closing ceremony will be held on Tuesday.

Glow said travel agents and tour operators have also been invited to the festival.

Eaglenest, which covers an area of 217 square km, derives its name from the Red Eagle division of the army, which was posted in the area in the 1950s.


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