The first-ever Ladakh Bird Festival, organised by the Department of Wildlife Protection, Ladakh in collaboration with the SECURE Himalaya Project, commenced with the lighting of the lamp by the dignitaries.
While addressing the gathering, chief guest, CEC Tashi Gyalson extended his gratitude to the Department of Wildlife Protection for conducting the first Ladakh Bird Festival. He stressed the need for encouraging Avifauna as a part of our culture. Highlighting the importance of the festival, CEC Gyalson stated that it should be a reminder for all of us to work collectively in preserving the fragile ecosystem and educate ourselves and promote the diverse biodiversity of Ladakh.
Speaking on the occasion, Principal Secretary. Forest, Ecology & Environment, Pawan Kotwal in his inaugural address said this event is a first of its kind in Ladakh. He said that Ladakh has a huge biodiversity. It falls on the pathway of migratory birds and is a paradise for both birds and bird lovers. He said just as humans have highways birds have flyways. He added that we have a huge responsibility to be the custodian of the land. ‘Live and Let Live’ should not only be applicable for humans but should also include all creation as well. Further, he added according to some experts more than 350 species of birds have now been identified in Ladakh. He observed that one of the biggest strengths of Ladakh is that its people do not hunt. Therefore, it has become a huge refuge for birds and animals alike.
He requested Chief Wildlife Warden, Department of Wildlife Protection, Ladakh, Preet Pal Singh, to document all the activities planned for the next 3 days. In conclusion, Principal Secretary thanked the dignitaries and the participants. He hoped this event would be done with the sincerity it deserved.
Member of Parliament, Ladakh, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal congratulated and thanked the dignitaries, officials, and experts on behalf of the people of Ladakh for organizing the first-ever Bird Festival. He said it was the moral responsibility of all Ladakhis to protect the birds in the region. He assured the audience that he would contribute to this field as much as possible.
Chief Wildlife Warden, Department of Wildlife Protection, Ladakh, Preet Pal Singh, gave the vote of thanks. He thanked the dignitaries for gracing the occasion and said, starting from today a large number of events such as panel discussions, field visits and cultural programs would take place. He assured all the events taking place in the next three days would be documented to enhance learning about the subject.
As part of the festival, a photo exhibition was held on birds found in Ladakh. The animated storybook ‘Tashi the Explorer’ was also launched on the occasion. The inaugural session was followed by a panel discussion on Emerging threats to avifauna in Ladakh, and the role of citizen science in bird monitoring and another discussion on Birds in the culture and history of Ladakh was also held.
The First Ladakh Bird Festival is being organized as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, celebration. The three-day event is taking place from 28th to 30th October, 2021.