How Arunachal Tribe Protects Unique Bird Species and won a national conservation honor

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Published by Vijay Singh on 29 May 2018

The best structure of supremacy involves a flawless collaboration between administrations and the groups of people they rule, with faith being reposed on either side. One can cite several examples of how such coalition outcomes in better governance results.

In Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng region, one can see this type of affiliation between the affiliates of the Bugun tribal society from Singchung village and the local Forest section. Mutually, they frame up the Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve Management Committee (SBVCR).

The coalition got formalized during January last year, and earlier this week, it got honored with the India Biodiversity Award in the “Conservation of Wildlife Species” group for its attempt to preserve the gravely endangered bird—Bugun liocichla.

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To the not conversant, the honor is presented by the National Biodiversity Association, and in 2018, it got presented by the Union environment ministry and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The community reserve, regarded as a biodiversity hotspot, covers up a region of 17 square kilometers and is next to the to the Eaglesnest Wildlife Sanctuary (EWS).

 “The ten staff members (village boys) of the SBVCR [take turns and] patrol the area every day and have already prevented several instances of illegal road building and boulder extraction in the habitat of the Bugun Liocichla,” Millo Tasser, divisional forest officer of EWS said..

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 “Because of their conservation efforts, the bird has been named after the Bugun tribe,” said Tassar.

As per International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Liocichla is categorized as Critically Endangered (CR).

“Today there are about 20-24 pairs which live in the area,” he said.

The NBA honor mainly distinguishes the social efforts to preserve the Liocichla.

Indi Glow, an associate of the SBVCR, who bagged the honor together with Sange Norbu Phiang in Hyderabad, said,  “We have had considerable success after partnering with the Forest Department. The initiative engages local boys, providing a good avenue for employment.”

The local Singchung inhabitants act as camp managers, cooks, drivers, professional wildlife guides and other camp personnel. Each and every family has at least one member hired by the program.

Despite that, awareness programs in educational institutions, rescue and healing programs plus an eco-sightseeing plan are in full swing.

“We don’t serve non vegetarian food either,” said Tassar, emphasizing the kind of guests they look forward to: serious birders from the world or people who are actually interested in conservation of wildlife.

“It’s definitely not meant to be a leisure trip,” he stated.

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