ITANAGAR: The revolutionary ‘Air Gun Surrender Abhiyan’, an initiative of the Arunachal Pradesh Forest department to conserve wildlife, achieved another milestone on Thursday, with a total of 285 air guns being voluntarily surrendered by several villagers at Yingkiong, the headquarters of Upper Siang District.
The idea conceived by Environment & Forest Minister Mama Natung is spinning a new hope for conservation with over 2,000 weapons given up voluntarily since its launch on March 17 this year at Lumdung village in East Kameng district where 46 air guns were surrendered.
Natung who was present on the occasion spoke about the genesis of the movement and thanked everyone especially, those who had surrendered their airguns, official sources from the district informed.
“We need to change our mindset of looking at birds and animals only as meat for consumption,” he said, and emphasised the important role that birds play in spreading seeds across the forests.
He appealed to the people to make the vision of the department to make Arunachal an air gun-free state.
“Kandhe pe bandook lagake shoot karna choriye aur galein mein camera lagake shoot kijiye (Stop shooting birds with airgun instead shoot with the camera,” he added.
Health & Family Welfare Minister Alo Libang who was also present during the function stressed the importance of maintaining ecological balance and the need to preserve and protect the faunal biodiversity of the district for the next generations to come or else they would only be seen in the paper.
Libang added that conservation efforts would give an impetus to the tourism sector in the state.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu recently said that for the campaign to be successful, it has to emerge as a people’s movement, requesting all Community-Based Organisations to play an active role.
Khandu stated that the campaign would be far from successful if people do not pledge ”’not to eat wild meat”.
The Chief Minister said that hunting during the festival is an ancient practice and cannot be stopped by any legal or government order but has to be pondered upon by elders and youngsters alike.
The function, organized by the divisional forest office (DFO) of the district, was also attended by MLA Kanggong Taku, Deputy Commissioner Taper Pada Superintendent of police (SP) Jummar Basar, Zila Parishad Chairperson Lumgeng Litin among others.