First ever ‘Run for Hornbill: Against Time’ held in Dimapur to promote wildlife conservation

Newmai News Network

Dimapur: The Department of Environment, Forests & Climate Change organised the first ever “Run for Hornbill: Against Time” today in Dimapur starting from Green Park and culminating at Nagaland Zoological Park, Rangapahar. The run kicked off with much fanfare and excitement covering a distance of 6 km.

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Speaking on the occasion, minister of Environment, Forests & Climate Change and village guards, CL John said this is the first major initiative taken by the department after 24 years of the Hornbill Festival. He thanked the department and the participants for taking a step forward to protect and conserve Hornbill and asked the department to continue the event even in the coming years.

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He pointed out that the hornbill is on the brink of extinction due to loss of habitat and hunting, which he said is a concern for every individual to conserve the environment and protect the hornbill by using replica feathers instead of using the original one. He mentioned that the Hornbill Festival is a wake-up call for Nagas, a place of unity and a meeting point where all the Naga tribes and outsiders come together to celebrate with so much vigour and enthusiasm. “It is time for all the organizers and individuals to change their mindset and ponder on how to save and protect hornbill,” he added.

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Special invitee, commissioner & secretary, department of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Y Kikheto Sema, in his address, said the use of hornbill feathers as an ornament is a tradition in Naga society. Over the years, the population of hornbills has seen a drastic decline due to its unique ecology where other species are also on the brink of extinction. It is likely that soon we will be celebrating the ‘Hornbill Festival’ without “Hornbills” in the state. He pointed out that there is an urgent and pressing need to proactively discourage the use of fresh original feathers in headgear. Such use is also in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, he warned. He also urged the Tribal Bodies to completely ban the use of original feathers to preserve the limited existing hornbills in the state. 

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“Most people don’t know and realize that once the male is killed, the female and the chicks who depend on the male for food also die”, he said. Citing Arunachal Pradesh as an example, he challenged the state to start a hornbill preservation campaign and say “No” to the use of original feathers in headgear.

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