2nd World Wildlife Day celebrated

UntitledMarch 3, Trongsa: The 2nd World Wildlife Day was celebrated at Jangbi under Langthel geog with a theme in Bhutan ‘Partnering with Local Communities to Combat Wildlife Crime’ while the global theme is Wildlife Crime is serious: let’s get serious about wildlife crime’. The celebration was graced by Dasho Paljor J Dorji as the Guest of Honour and Dasho Norbu, Drangpon, Trongsa Dzongkhag as the Chief Guest.

Also present at the occasion were the invited guests from WWF Bhutan Office, Tarayana, students and senior officials from the Department of Forest and Park Services and Dzongkhag. The occasion was attended by 200 invitees.

March 3, the date on which Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was adopted, was declared as the World Wildlife Day at the 68th Session of UN General Assembly.

With funding assistance from World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the celebration was organised jointly by the Wildlife Conservation Division and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (JSWNP). The half day program commenced with a marchang ceremony followed by the welcome address by the Chief Forestry Officer, JSWNP. In his address, he highlighted the importance of observing the day along with the rest of the CITES member countries. He informed that the reason for celebrating the day with the communities was to raise awareness amongst the community on the importance of the day and also to garner their support to combat ‘Wildlife Crime’. The community representative welcomed the gathering and expressed their gratitude for celebrating this very important day with them.

Dasho Norbu highlighted in his address, the importance of wildlife and the need to conserve them. He reiterated that all Bhutanese are trustee of the environment and is therefore our collective responsibility to conserve nature for our future generations. He also shared the interdependence of communities and the environment. He then expressed that human kind are part of the environment and exclaimed that ‘When the forest burns it is not the forest you are burning, but ourselves, when rivers dry, it is our lives that is drying, and when wild animals are being killed, it is not the wild animals that are being killed but ourselves’. He appealed to everyone to join hands in combating illegal wildlife trade and to conserve wildlife and also pledged the support of the Court of Law in penalizsing such criminals in an effort to combat illegal wildlife crime.

Dasho Paljor J Dorji at the event spoke on the importance of wildlife, environment and stressed on the importance of combating illegal wildlife trade collectively. He expressed his appreciation for dDepartment’s effort on taking into consideration the local communities in conserving our environment and combating illegal wildlife crimes. He also submitted that it was a tremendous honour and historic privilege for Kingdom of Bhutan to join hands across the globe to observe and celebrate the important day. He said that the setting for celebration is more appropriate when it is with the Monpa community who are the aboriginal Bhutanese that lived in close harmony with nature since time imemorable. Dasho also expressed his gratitude to Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck who through Tarayana Foundation brought tremendous changes in the lives of the Monpas.

As a part of celebration, a drawing competition amongst the students of Jangbi Community Primary School was held on the theme, ‘Forests and My Village’. Through the drawings, the kids have portrayed the use of forest resources, diversity of life in the forests and of course the conservation efforts put by the people. A short skit was also presented to the guests by the students whereby they educated the people of implications of wildlife crime. Posters on conservation were also displayed for creating awareness amongst the Monpas, who are too dependent on forests for their livelihoods. Besides these educative activities, local dancers from Langthelperformed classical Bhutanese dances which were blended by modern Bhutanese songs by the students and traditional dances by the Monpas. The program concluded with a vote of thanks and Tashi Lebey.

– Submitted by JSWNP and Wildlife Conservation Division

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