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Pokhara Bird Fair

Introduction

History of Bird Fair and Global Scenario

The British Bird Watching Fair has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1989. The idea evolved from a local event held in 1987 at Rutland Water Nature Reserve called “The Wildfowl Bonanza”. The event was a great success and after much deliberation, in the local pub appropriately named The Finch’s Arms, the idea of a birdwatchers’ fair was hatched by the organisers Tim Appleton and Martin Davies. The Fair takes place on the nature reserve at Rutland Water which itself is a huge water store reservoir owned by Anglian Water. The nature reserve is a Ramsar site and special protection area and is managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. The aim of the Fair was to get birdwatchers together to celebrate birds, develop a commercial fair for bird watching industry and support international conservation projects.

In Nepal, Bird Conservation Nepal with Bird Conservation Network, Kailali organized two days long National IBAs- Local Conservation Groups Meeting and Bird Fair in February, 2017.

To make a large mass of people aware about the condition of birds and provide information on bird diversity in Nepal was the main moto of the program. Similarly, Pokhara Bird Society is looking forward to organize national bird fair focusing on maximum participation from local community, clubs, stakeholders, government representatives, NGOs and INGOs in Nepal. Likewise, we will also be publishing a booklet with short description and checklist of birds of Pokhara Valley. It will be distributed to a wider range of stakeholders and community people to aware and involve them on bird and biodiversity conservation on participatory approach.

Objectives

• To promote bird eco-tourism.
• To generate bird watching tour guides through training.
• To highlight current issues regarding bird conservation.
• To aware people to conserve birds and their habitats.

Theme
“Together for Bird, People and Tourism”

The aim of the fair was to gather birdwatchers, bird lovers, clubs, stakeholders, government representatives, NGOs and INGOs in and around Kaski together to celebrate bird fair, develop a commercial base for bird tourism and promote birdwatching industry through bird conservation in Nepal.

Press Meet

Press meet was held on 1st July, 2018 briefing about the program details to the news reporters at the conference hall of Nepal Tourism Board, Damside, Pokhara. Total 14 news reporters (ANNEX I) were present in the press meet. The program was chaired by the President of PBS, Mr. Manshata Ghimire and the chief guest of the program was Mr. Surya Thapaliya, Chief Officer of NTB, Province No. 4. Hemanta Dhakal, Secretary of PBS briefed about the fair. Chief Guest Mr. Thapaliya appreciated the pioneer work of PBS for organizing “Pokhara Bird Fair-2018” and he believed that such fair and training for tourism professionals can enhance the quality of bird tourism and guiding respectively; hence providing a path to welcome high end tourists in Pokhara Valley. News were published and broadcasted in various newspapers, online media and local FMs.

Day wise Events

Day 1: 3rd July, 2018 [19th Ashad, 2075]

Bird Watching Training for Tourism Professionals

As a part of “Pokhara Bird Fair-2018”, bird watching training received overwhelming numbers of interested applicants for registration. Total 61 trekking guides and tourism professionals were nominated and approved for the training.

Theory Class

The theory class was provided by experts from different fields to the participants at the hall of NTB, Province No. 4. Training schedule with presentation details are provided in ANNEX II.Day 2 : 4th July, 2018 [20th Ashad, 2075]

Practical Class (Field Visit)

It included field exposure for the participants regarding “Bird Identification” skills under the supervision of bird experts. The field visit started at 7 am from Jarebar towards Methlang (Northern Hills of Lakeside) and ended in Barahi Chowk at around 10 am. The field trip was led by Mr. Hathan Chaudhary (Treasurer, NOU), Mr. Rajendra Gurung (President, BCN), Mr. Krishna Bhusal (Vulture Conservation Officer, BCN), Mr. Shes Kanta Sharma (Vice-President, PBS) and Mrs. Hira Kumari Malla (Treasurer, PBS). Total 29 species (ANNEX III) were recorded and field practice was conducted at Komogane Park, Fewa Lake Shore. Lunch and refreshments were served to all participants and trainers. After that, all the trainees participated in the theory class of second session.

Photo Exhibition

To create awareness about the bird species of Pokhara Valley, PBS conducted a photo exhibition on the second day of Pokhara Bird Fair-2018. 60 different photographs taken by professional photographers were exhibited across the premises of Nepal Tourism Board, Province No. 4, Pokhara. General visitors, foreigners, students, researchers, tourism enterprisers, government & local stakeholders, conservationists, bird lovers showed keen interest and enjoyed the exhibition. Manshanta Ghimire-President of PBS, Hemanta Dhakal-Secretary of PBS, Krishna Bhusal-Project Officer of BCN & Narayan Rijal- Wildlife Photographer and Anisha Rana- Executive Member of PBS answered the queries from news reporters, media persons, students, government and local stakeholders. The photo exhibition was a huge success.

Poem Competition

Satisfactory number of students from different schools presented their poems on the theme: “Together for Bird, People & Tourism.” Numbers of amateur poets (visitors) also presented their poems. Winners (ANNEX IV) of the competition were awarded with prizes on closing ceremony by the chief guest Hon. Bikash Lamsal, MoITFE, Province No. 4.

Day 3 : 5th July, 2018 [21st, Ashad, 2075]

Bird Race

On the occasion of Pokhara Bird Fair 2018, Pokhara Bird Society organized a Bird Race on 5th July 2018. Total 15 bird enthusiast participated in the event. Participants were divided into two different groups: Vulture and Broadbill (both being iconic bird species) consisting of 7 (Rajendra Gurung, Vimal Thapa, Ganesh Acharya,, Ram Raj Gurung Sapana Adhikari, Suresh Khatik & Rishi Baral) and 8 participants (Hathan Chaudhary, Ram Bahadur Shahi, Narayan Rijal, Samjhana Karki, Gopi Shrestha, Niraj Dahal, Gobinda Bahadur Singh and Binita Chaudhary) respectively. The Team Vulture and Team Broadbill were led by renowned Ornithologists- Mr. Rajendra Gurung, President of BCN and Mr. Hathan Chaudhary, Treasurer of NOU respectively. Altogether 43 species (ANNEX V) were recorded by both groups, total 39 species by Team Broadbill and 32 by Team Vulture.

Stalls of Different Organizations

Informative stalls from different organizations: FoN, BCN, BNCC, SMCRF, NTNC-ACAP and ZOOSOP were displayed in and around the premises of Hotel Barahi, Pokhara.

Interaction Program and Closing Ceremony

PBS organized a special interaction program amongst the top ornithologists, conservationists, government officers, and other stakeholders. The aim of the program was to find current status of Birds of Nepal and a way forward for the conservation that can help in enhancing sustainable tourism development in Nepal.

The formal program began as per the schedule at Hotel Barahi, Pokhara. PBS believes and practices “Go Green” Policy thus we didn’t use “Khada” and instead welcomed our chief guests and respected personalities by offering pin badges of Long-tailed Broadbill to them. The chief guest of the program was Hon. Minister Bikash Lamsal, MoITFE, Province No. 4 who inaugurated the program by releasing a poster of Globally Threatened Bird Species found in Pokhara Valley with his signature on it and thus marked the historic moment as it was the first bird fair of its kind. He then delivered an inaugural speech and urged that tourism sector has huge potential in creating job opportunities and economic growth in Province no. 4. He also welcomed any suggestions and feedbacks from experts regarding Bird Eco-tourism promotion in the region.

The Master of Ceremony was Mr. Hemanta Dhakal, Secretary of PBS and the welcome speech was delivered by Mr. Shes Kanta Sharma, Vice-President of PBS. Similarly, the closing remarks were delivered by Mr. Manshanta Ghimire, President of PBS giving vote of thanks to chief guest, distinguished guests, ornithologists, conservationists, government bodies/officers, media persons, tourism entrepreneurs, all 38 partner organizations, students and volunteers.

Key speaker was eminent ornithologist, author and Country Representative of ZSL- Dr. Hem Sagar Baral, who gave a presentation on the Status of Birds of Nepal. Secretary of PBS-Mr. Hemanta Dhakal, Vulture Conservation Officer from BCN-Mr. Krishna Bhusal, Executive Director of FoN- Mr. Raju Acharya, Principal of New Galaxy School (College of Science, Management, Tourism & Hotel Management)- Dr. Ramji Sharma, President of BCN- Mr. Rajendra Gurung presented on various topics: Bird diversity in Pokhara: Conservation Challenges and way forward, Status of Vultures in Nepal and movement in Pokhara Valley, Tourism Possibility of Pokhara Valley and Status of IBAs in Nepal respectively.

A delightful conservation dance was performed by the energetic students of IoF, Pokhara. The special guests of the program were Dr. Buddhi Poudel- Secretary of M0ITFE, Province N0. 4, Mr Surya Thapaliya- Chief Officer of NTB, Province No. 4, Dr. Juddha Gurung- President of CODFUND, Officer of Tourism Office-Pokhara, Vice-President of Pokhara Tourism Council, Representative of IMM, President of President of NMA-Annapurna Chapter, President of TAAN Regional Chapter, President of ZOOSOP, Representative of Millennium Trekking Management Committee, Mr. Hathan Chaudhary, Treasurer of NOU, Mr. Vimal Thapa, General Secretary of BCN and Ms. Lucky Karki Chhetri, President of EWN.

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge was awarded with “Bird Conservation Award-2018” on the occasion of Pokhara Bird Fair, 2018. The award was handed over to Mr. Hari Pariyar of TMPL by Honourable Minister Mr. Bikash Lamsal. Similarly, all the participants of “Birdwatching Training for Tourism Professionals” and volunteers received their respective certificates.
High tea was served to all in the beautiful ambience of Hotel Barahi, one of the prestigious hotels in Pokhara.

Outcomes

1. Total 61 trekking guides and tour leaders were provided with bird watching trainings that enhanced their skills in bird watching which in turn will promote bird watching tourism.
2. Students from different schools in and around Pokhara Valley were enrolled in poem competition to present their respective poems on the title “Together for Bird, People & Tourism”. Top 4 students were awarded with first, second, third and fourth prizes.
3. About 500 people visited the photo exhibition where 60 different photographs were displayed across the premises of Nepal Tourism Board, Province No. 4, Pokhara. It created awareness regarding the bird species of Pokhara Valley along with their conservation status.

Recommendation

1. Pokhara Bird Fair-2018 is the first bird fair of its kind. Hence, such fair should be conducted in an annual and national basis for promoting bird ecotourism in Nepal in long run.
2. Next bird fair should focus more on local community and students so as to increase the awareness on bird conservation and bird ecotourism at local level.

 

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