The Ladakh Union Territory held its first-ever bird festival to ensure the preservation of the fragile ecosystem and promote the region’s diversity of biodiversity, officials said on Friday.
Ladakh is home to nearly 350 species of birds identified by various experts from time to time.
The festival was held on Thursday as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav‘celebrations by the Ladakh Wildlife Protection Department in collaboration with the Secure Himalaya Project, they said.
Addressing a rally, General Counsel Tashi Gyalson, who was also the main guest, expressed his gratitude to the Department of Wildlife Protection for leading the festival.
He stressed the need to encourage birdlife as part of Indian culture. Emphasizing the importance of the festival, Mr. Gyalson said he should remind all of us to work collectively to preserve the fragile ecosystem, educate ourselves and promote the diversity of Ladakh’s biodiversity.
Speaking on the occasion, the Principal Secretary for Forests, Ecology and Environment, Pawan Kotwal, in his inaugural address, said that this event is the first of its kind in Ladakh.
He said Ladakh has enormous biodiversity, which falls in the path of migratory birds, and is a paradise for birds and bird lovers.
Mr Kotwal said just like humans have highways, birds have migration routes.
“We have a huge responsibility to be the steward of the earth,” he added.
“Live and let live” should not only apply to humans, but should also include all animals and birds, he said.
In addition, Mr Kotwal said that, according to some experts, more than 350 species of birds have now been identified in Ladakh.
He observed that one of Ladakh’s greatest strengths is that its people do not hunt. Therefore, it has become a huge refuge for birds and animals.
Mr Kotwal also asked the director of wildlife protection of the Ladakh wildlife protection department, Preet Pal Singh, to document all the activities planned for the next three days of the festival.
Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal congratulated and thanked the dignitaries, officials and experts on behalf of the people of Ladakh for organizing the bird festival.
He said that it is the moral responsibility of all Ladakhis to protect the birds in the region, and assured that he will contribute as much as possible to this area.
As part of the festival, a photo exhibition was organized on birds found in Ladakh. The animated storybook “Tashi the Explorer” was also launched for the occasion.