20th September: The Bombay Natural History Society completed 133 years of nature conservation on 15th September this year. The Society organized a function for its members at the Coomaraswamy Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay yesterday to mark this milestone and celebrate the glorious heritage of BNHS. On this occasion, BNHS announced the initiation of an innovative community conservancy in the Mishmi Hills of Arunachal Pradesh.
The President of BNHS Mr. Homi Khusrokhan welcomed the guests, followed by a presentation by Dr Deepak Apte, Director BNHS to update members on work done by the Society in the last year and unveiled the future strategy for new conservation programmes. Member of the Governing Council of BNHS Mr. Satish Pradhan spoke about Mishmi Hills and the conservation programme charted by BNHS to retain and safeguard the endangered flora and fauna in North East.
The highlight of this evening was signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a community owned conservancy between BNHS and Mr. Ipra Mekola, a member of the State Wildlife Advisory Board and Honorary Wildlife Warden, Lower Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh and the Head of Mekola clan, Idu-Mishmi tribe. The objective of this programme is conservation of biodiversity through community engagement. “Mishmi Hills programme is an exciting endeavor to use traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge to enhance conservation action. It is a classic case of communities taking a proactive role in safeguarding wilderness”, says Dr Deepak Apte.
The guest speaker Dr Y.V. Jhala, Scientist – Wildlife Institute of India gave an enlightening talk on the conservation scenario in India and the road ahead. The function also included felicitation of few supporters and well wishers of BNHS to honor and appreciate the backing and encouragement they provide. Apart from these, a special issue of Hornbill (quarterly magazine of BNHS) on the stalwarts of BNHS and a book ‘Hummingbirds Volume I’ illustrated by artists Sangeetha Kadur and her cousin Vydhehi Kadur were released.
BNHS members and well wishers attended the function in large numbers. The evening ended on the hope to host similar functions in the future to interact with members and popularize nature conservation. Dr Ashok Bhagwat, Honorary Secretary of BNHS noted “We celebrated the glorious heritage, the people who contributed to make BNHS a milestone organization and the work done by them. These celebrations have paved way for further interactions with members so as to increase their participation in functioning of the Society. The special issue of Hornbill on stalwarts of BNHS will help initiate systematic documentation of contribution of altruistic members and inspire generations to come. The contribution of our members has not only given the direction to our activities but also character and soul.”