“Support government efforts for nature and wildlife conservation”

Jammu, November 13: Chief Wildlife Warden, Jammu & Kashmir has called on all sections of society especially the PRIs, students and youths to support and strengthen the government’s efforts for nature and wildlife conservation so that the nation can successfully meet the challenges of climate change that threaten humanity.

He was speaking at the Surinsar Bird Festival organized by the Department of Wildlife Protection to commemorate the birthday of Birdman of India “Dr. Salim Ali”. As many as 500 students from various schools, colleges and universities in the Jammu region participated in different bird festival events.

The major among the participating educational institutions were Central University of Jammu, University of Jammu, Women College Parade, MAM College, GGM Science College, Women College Gandhi Nagar, Government Higher Secondary School Surinsar and Learning Temple High School, Kathua.

Joginder Singh, a member of the district development council in the region, along with Bodh Raj Sarpanch, Surinsar and other PRI members also attended various programs of the one-day festival.

The highlights of the festival were the birdwatching walk during which participants walked through various nature trails in the adjacent forest area to observe birds and their habitats under the guidance of expert birdwatchers from JK Birdlife (an amateur birdwatching group of birds). This was followed by a lake walk during which the participants walked around Surinsar Lake and were enlightened by the expert participants on waterfowl, migratory birds, lake ecosystem, restoration of the area coastline of Lake Surinsar and the diversity of turtles in Lake Surinsar.

The eminent experts who participated and guided during the various events of the program were Prof. Parmil Kumar, Dr. Vinita, Dr. Deepika Salathia, Dr. Neeraj Sharma, Dr. Anuradha Gupta, Dr. Vipin, Dr. Sudesh Kumar, Dr. Ankita Sharma, Dr Kaushika and Dr Chinmayi Maharana.

OP Sharma Vidyarthi, a well-known proponent of tree discussions, spoke about important tree species and their ecological importance. Participants also paid floral tributes to the Birdman of India – Dr. Salim Ali and highlighted his contributions to bird research and conservation in India.

An on-site painting competition was also held in which students from class – I up to university students participated. Paintings were made by the students on three themes, namely “Birds – Flying Wonders”, “Barnyard Birds” and “Birds through Different Landscapes”.

A team of experts evaluated the paintings on site in four categories – primary (up to class – V), sub-junior (class – VI to IX), junior (class – X to XII) and senior (up to – above class XII). The top three paintings in each category received trophies and certificates. In addition, consolation prizes were awarded to participants who narrowly missed the 3rd prize.

A photographic exhibition on birds of Jammu and Kashmir with special reference to the birds of Surinsar – Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary was inaugurated by Suresh Kumar Gupta, Principal Head of Forest Conservation (Wildlife)/Head of Wildlife, Jammu- and Kashmir. Wonderful photographs of beautiful birds taken by various expert bird photographers were exhibited in the exhibition.

Eminent bird photographers whose contributions were exhibited were Guldev Raj, Prof. Parmil Kumar, Yatin Gupta, Parvaiz Shagoo, Sachin Kumar Bhagat, Adv. Vishal Kapoor, Adv. Shvait Khajuria, Hemant Kumar, Nazim Ali Manhas, Rajat Kumar, Dileep Koul, Ajay Kumar, Pankaj Chiber and Dr. Neeraj Sharma.

Students and local cultural groups also presented a colorful cultural program during the festival. The students showed their talents through songs, dances, mimes, poetry recitations, etc. a cultural program addressing various aspects of nature and wildlife conservation. During the festival, various wildlife and bird films were also screened. The Department of Wildlife Protection had also set up stalls with souvenirs and publicity material. Brochures, flyers, etc. publicity material was distributed to participants to raise their awareness of wildlife conservation.

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