Keonjhar: Unabated hunting and poaching are threatening the existence of birds and animals in many parts of Odisha. Many varieties of birds that once were seen and heard chirping on a regular basis have virtually become non-existent these days. This is because of poachers who kill birds and hunt them down by destroying their nests.
However, residents of Badapasi village have turned from poachers to protectors of the winged species. Badapasi village located near NH-20 under Ghatagaon block in Keonjhar district is home for hundreds of species of migratory and resident birds. The village is a perfect place for bird watchers, photographers, nature enthusiasts and ornithologists. Most of the former hunters are now into bird conservation. There was a time when they killed birds and ate those.
However, now they are the guardians of the birds. They have come forward to protect the birds and also ensure poachers from outside do not kill them. The former poachers of birds realised the negative impact of their actions and felt the need for environmental conservation. They decided to quit hunting and took collective action to protect birds. Birds fly thousands of kilometres from other parts of the world and arrive at the village every year for breeding and nesting.
As soon as the monsoon arrives, the winged guests start to throng the village as they think of it as a safe abode. “Now, every ‘tamarind’, ‘mango’ and ‘bel’ trees in the village is home to several species of birds. We take every possible step to see that there is no harm to the birds. They lay their eggs on the trees and stay here for a couple of months,” villager Sibanand Naik said. “It is high time that we start protecting the birds before they become extinct. It is the duty of every citizen to take steps towards bird protection. The villagers are indeed setting an amazing example,” said environmentalist Dr Bimbhadhar Behera heaping praises on the villagers. “The community participation is commendable. This initiative by the villagers will give a new direction to bird conservation,” he added.