Posts Tagged ‘Khijadiya’

The first ever attempt to conduct a Global Meet for the Bird Lovers saw a huge response recently in Jamnagar. The Global Bird Watchers’ Conference-2010 (GBWC) brought together the who’s who of the international bird-watchers’ community. Addressing the Conference, Gujarat Tourism Secretary Vipul Mitra said, “Khijadiya will become the national hub for bird watchers. This international conference, we believe, will increase tourism in Khijadiya by at least 30%.”

The three-day event saw a lot of passion, enthusiasm and fervor with the presence of a large number of nature lovers, photographers, ornithologists, wildlife enthusiasts and enthusiastic globe-trotting Gujaratis. Around 98 delegates from 45 countries and 300 Indian specialists attended the conference. Few of the well-known faces at the conference were ornithologists Philip Straw, Vice Chairman of Australian Wader Studies Group, Prof Brendan Kavanagh, Associate Professor in Human Biology at RCSI Medical University in Bahrain and eminent conservationists Lavkumar Khachar and Dr Bharat Bhushan. Not to forget the presence of Jamsaheb of Nawanagar, Digvijaysinh Jadeja and State Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas who graced the event.

“What I could not do for years, the Government has done today,” remarked Jamsaheb. Making a public appearance after nearly 15 years, Jamsaheb received extraordinary reverence from the crowd. His address to the gathering brought out his passion for birding and nature. He urged the birders to expand the parameters of bird watching to include the birds’ understanding of intelligence and innovation.

The birders enjoyed the avian beauties at the Khijadiya bird sanctuary situated on the outskirts and they even visited Narara Island to see the corals and marine ecology. The technical sessions brought out some very fascinating facets of global birding, with special focus on India and Gujarat.

Among the interesting facts about birds revealed by the experts, the most interesting disclosure was made by a researcher who said that birds have a sense of the earth’s magnetic field. It is this that directs them across continents on the same route over generations. Another little-known fact shared at the conference was that India is now being used for transit by migratory birds on the Australasian flyway and by those on way to South Africa. The not-so-knowledgeable bird lovers too had something to gain at the conference. CN Pandey of the Indian Forest Service shared the software called ‘Wings of Nature’, developed to identify more than 500 species of birds.

Gujarat stood tall with various claims at the conference. Some said that out of 10,000 bird species in the world, India is home to 1,236; while out of these, Gujarat has 526 bird species. Also it is the only state in Asia where Greater and Lesser Flamingos breed. Gujarat has the highest number of Saras Cranes, after Uttar Pradesh in the country. These and other such discussions familiarized birders and travel/nature lovers with Khijadiya and Gujarat as a rich eco-tourism site. When asked whether the influx of tourists would harm the ecology, Jaynarayan Vyas said tourism focusing on “responsible bird watchers” and experts who instead of harming the environment will increase the efforts for its protection through their research, was essential.

The conference saw a positive end as the state’s forest & environment department along with the tourism department promised to develop potential eco-tourism sites in Gujarat in a sensitive and responsible manner.

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