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Please Welcome the Bird Guides of Bhagalpur

Indian Masterminds Stories

The Forest Department of Bhagalpur district of Bihar has taken a commendable initiative, which was probably never done here before. A training program has been organised for the first time in which youth of the region are being groomed as ‘bird guides’ giving information about birds.

After training, these guides will educate people about birds and also work towards will come forward the protection of birds. It is worth mentioning that in Bihar, most species of birds are found in Bhagalpur district.

Bihar’s first ‘Bird Guide Development Program’ has been started by Mr. Abhay Kumar, RCCF and Senior IFS Officer at Nature Lecturer Center located in Sundarbans of Bhagalpur. More than 180 applications were received for this, out of which 51 candidates were selected. Now these candidates will be given a 1-month training and development program organized by the Bhagalpur Forest Division. Hopefully this will bring a change for the better.

One fifth of the total bird population in India has suffered a long-term decline in the last 25 years. Birds living in migratory coastal habitats have been the most affected in the past decades.

Youth taking training of bird guide at Sundarbans, Bhagalpur (Credit: Twitter)

BIRD GUIDES

Bird sanctuaries are the favourite destinations of bird watchers as well as wildlife enthusiasts. ‘Bird watchers’ refers to those who are engaged in the conservation of birds on a personal level and keep collecting information about them. But there have been  ‘bird guides’ in Bihar giving guidance about birds. In such a situation, bird lovers have to search for information about birds themselves or they have to go to ornithologists.

Bharat Chintapalli, a 2018 batch IFS officer and Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Bhagalpur, in an exclusive interaction with Indian Masterminds said, “We have many diverse bird sanctuaries. Some have ‘bird guides’ and most do not. But where there are ‘bird guides’, the whole ecosystem gets a lot of benefit. Without a ‘bird guide’, bird watchers face many problems, because they see birds in new places and there they feel the need of a guide. If they are not available, then these watchers stop visiting those places. This harms our entire ecosystem and also creates problems in bird conservation. That’s why it takes both of them to rescue the birds.”

Inauguration of Bhagalpur’s first Bird Guide Development Programme by RCCF IFS Sh. Abhay Kumar. (Credit: Twitter)

TRAINING

At present, this training program is going on in the Sundarbans, but after that it will be conducted at other bird hotspots of Bhagalpur including Vikramshila Dolphin Sanctuary, Jagatpur Lake, and Jaiprakash Udyan. A large number of local as well as migratory birds are seen in all these places and more than 250 types of birds build their nests here.

The special thing about the training is that complete information about the birds will be given by the experts. Bird experts from other states will also join on the Zoom app.

IFS Bharat Chintapalli, a 2018 batch IFS officer and Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Bhagalpur (Credit: Twitter)

Mr. Chintapalli says, “It is basically a development programme, where we aim to groom the local community members as bird guides. We want to create guides here who are world class and can promote ecotourism. The subject matter of this training program is very comprehensive; it includes both theory and practical. Bird taxonomy, bird identification, reference book use, bird biology, and all aspects of bird related training will be imparted. Along with this, we will have many aspects including business skills, communication skills, ethics and safety and bird protection. At the same time, including logistics management in the training will teach everyone how to manage people seeking information about birds.”

EMPLOYMENT

The future plan is to make the guides employable. The mobile number of the bird guide will be given in hotels and resorts. During the training, the hotel owners will also be interacted with. Efforts will be made that the tourists, who come in search of birds, will be provided with the contact numbers of bird guides.


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