Itanagar, Nov 14 (PTI) The 'Airgun Surrender Abhiyan', a wildlife conservation initiative by the Arunachal Pradesh forest department, has received international recognition at the UNESCO's International Conference on Biosphere Reserves at Sabah in Malaysia on Monday, officials said.
Spearheaded by state’s Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Mama Natung, the abhiyan was launched in March 2021 to discourage hunting and raise awareness about the detrimental effects of wildlife killing.
The accolade was accepted on behalf of the minister by Dehang-Debang Biosphere Reserve director Dr Damodhar.
He received the recognition from Malaysia's Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmed, officials at the state’s forest department said on Tuesday.
Dr Damodhar was selected as the representative from India to present the country's report from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and share the success story at the international conference.
The abhiyan encourages the voluntary surrender of airguns and licensed guns to check their use in hunting birds and other wildlife.
The programme was officially inaugurated on March 17, 2021 at Lumdung in East Kameng district where 46 airguns were surrendered, making Lumdung the first ‘airgun-free’ village in Arunachal Pradesh.
Subsequently, the department of environment, forest and climate change collaborated with local communities, administrative departments, NGOs, and community-based organisations across all districts of the state to conduct awareness campaigns, persuading individuals to relinquish their airguns.
The response from communities was overwhelming, resulting in the voluntary surrender of over 2,400 airguns and 9 licensed guns by the people of the state, officials added.
Earlier, the abhiyan had received acclaim from various national and international media outlets and was honoured at the sixth North East Green Summit of Forest Ministers of North East held at Silchar in Assam in 2021.
The initiative received a significant boost when it was featured in the 84th edition of the 'Mann Ki Baat' programme on December 26 the same year, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally acknowledging and appreciating these efforts. PTI UPL UPL MNB