Attendees and organisers at the inter-school wildlife awareness event held at Government High School, Borhalian (Payeen) on August 30
Shopian District, Jammu & Kashmir, August 31, 2017: Working in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Protection (J&K), Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) organised a day-long wildlife awareness event for schoolchildren in Hirpora in the Shopian district of Jammu & Kashmir yesterday.
The event, which was held at the Government High School, Borhalian (Payeen), aimed to sensitise the attending schoolchildren about wildlife and the need for its preservation. It was the second event in what is planned to be an ongoing conservation awareness drive under which such programmes will be regularly organised by WTI and the Department of Wildlife Protection in Baramulla, Shopian and Poonch – the three districts in Jammu & Kashmir where the endangered markhor (Capra falconeri) is found.
A pre-campaign survey conducted for WTI’s Markhor Conservation Project in 2014 had revealed that only a shocking 5% of schoolchildren in Shopian had a basic awareness of wildlife in general, never mind the endangered mountain goat. The ongoing awareness drive aims to lay a strong foundation of wildlife knowledge among schoolchildren in the three targeted districts, sensitising them towards their responsibilities vis-à-vis the conservation of the nation’s rich biodiversity and ecology, and helping them appreciate the beauty and importance of nature.
The ongoing awareness drive aims to lay a strong foundation of wildlife knowledge among schoolchildren in the districts of Baramulla, Shopian and Poonch
The programme held at Hirpora took the form of an inter-school quiz and essay writing competition. WTI’s Riyaz Ahmad, who heads the Markhor Conservation Project, spoke of the crucial role that students can play by becoming wildlife conservation ambassadors of the future. Speaking on the occasion, Sameer Khazir, Assistant Field Officer with WTI said: “We are not the owners of nature, only its trustees. It is imperative that we use natural resources with the highest sense of responsibility.”
Expressing his appreciation for the programme, Mohd Amin Wani, Block Officer at Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary said: “While my generation must save wildlife as we owe it to future generations, it is also essential that we make our young people aware of the importance of wildlife conservation. Events like this one are vital in this regard.”
Prize distribution for the quiz and essay writing competitions at the inter-school wildlife awareness event