SEIJOSA- The 9th edition of the Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF) commenced today in Seijosa, showcasing dedicated efforts towards the conservation of nature and wildlife. The festival, scheduled from January 18 to 20, was inaugurated by Tourism, CA, TPT, and Land Management Minister Nakap Nalo.
Nalo, addressing the gathering, hailed the PPHF as a ‘one-of-a-kind festival’ in the state, emphasizing the crucial role played by the forest department and local communities in providing a sanctuary for the endangered Hornbill birds.
Acknowledging the cultural significance of the great hornbill, he urged a collective effort from all sectors of society to safeguard these exotic and critically endangered birds.
Highlighting the decline in Hornbill numbers and their fragmented distribution, Nalo stressed that while the government, particularly the forest department, takes initiatives for a secure forest habitat, the responsibility lies with the common people to contribute to the protection of these species.
Speaking about the tourism potential of Seijosa, Nalo mentioned its attraction for visitors from across the country and the world, drawn by the local flora and fauna.
He advocated for extending the celebration of festivals like PPHF to other parts of the state, emphasizing the duty of Seijosa’s public to lead conservation efforts beyond their region.
Responding to the proposal to declare Seijosa a heritage village, made by local MLA and State BJP President Biyuram Wahge, Minister Nalo expressed support for the idea and promised to pursue it at the government level.
Nyishi Elite Society President Professor Tana Showren, present as the guest of honor, emphasized the deep-rooted connection between conservation and tribal traditions. He advocated for a balanced approach, combining indigenous and scientific methods in conservation practices.
Professor Showren stressed the need for sustainable development that does not harm ecosystems and called for the active involvement of youth, local leaders, and the public in biodiversity conservation.
MLA Biyuram Wahge underscored that PPHF is not just a festival but also includes academic events such as panel discussions, workshops, and conservation programs. He highlighted the emotional attachment people have to cultural practices and their positive impact on promoting biodiversity conservation.
“Hornbills soar as ambassadors of the skies, reminding us that nature’s beauty is a fragile gift. We must safeguard it with reverence and respect,” he said. He highlighted the importance and uniqueness of the festival for being the only wildlife conservation festival in Arunachal Pradesh. He also urged all the people to actively participate and contribute their time for the festival’s prosperous culmination.
Prem Camdir, PPHF Secretary, praised the pivotal role of the native Nyishi community in wildlife conservation, emphasizing that reliance on the government and forest departments alone is insufficient. The festival, he added, exemplifies the community’s commitment to nature conservation.
The PPHF committee also paid tribute to forest rangers of the Pakke Tiger Reserve for their unwavering service in protecting wildlife in the district.
The inaugural function featured a skit on hornbill conservation, millet competition, cultural presentations from nearby border communities, including Nepali, Bodo, and Adivasi, showcasing the diversity of the region.
Organized by the Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival committee, led by Pakke Kessang Deputy Commissioner Bani Lego and Secretary Prem Camdir, the festival was declared the ‘state festival’ by Chief Minister Pema Khandu in 2019. This year’s theme, ‘Domutoh Domutoh, Paga hum Domutoh,’ translates to ‘Let Our Hornbills Remain’ in Nyishi, emphasizing the critical need to preserve these iconic birds.
The festival promises an engaging lineup of activities, ranging from bird-watching and cultural programs to literary competitions, MTB cycling, and short film screenings. As declared by Chief Minister Pema Khandu in 2019, the festival focuses on wildlife conservation, with a particular emphasis on the majestic Hornbills. All rank and files of the Pakke Kessang district from various departments attended the function.