World Wildlife Week celebrations begin in the city

Seven green NGOs in Coimbatore, along with Valparai-based Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), came together at Siruthuli’s Noyyal Life Centre to kickstart a month-long series of events to commemorate World Wildlife Week that began on Monday.

The theme of the celebration is ‘The Western Ghats: Hidden Treasures’. The NGOs are Siruthuli, Nature Conservation Society, Environment Conservation Group, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Wild Wing Society, SACON and Osai.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Director of Tamil Nadu Forest Academy S. Balaji inaugurated a photography exhibition on the biodiversity of the Western Ghats. The exhibition captures some of the unique plant and animal species endemic to the Western Ghats, accompanied by anecdotes. It is open to public till October 31. “We hope it will spark an interest, especially among students, regarding the treasure trove we Coimbatoreans live so close to,” said Managing Trustee of Siruthuli Vanitha Mohan.

“Coimbatore is the unofficial ecological capital of Tamil Nadu. It can play a vital role in preserving the Western Ghats since it is home to many active NGOs, wildlife photographers and researchers, educational organisations and environment-conscious industrialists,” said Shankar Raman from NCF. The need of the hour is to focus on the smaller species and microorganisms thriving in the Ghats, said wildlife photographer and filmmaker Kalyan Varma. He argued his point through a slideshow of his photographs of lesser-known species, with an explanation of their indispensability in the Anamalai mountain ranges. The primary role in conservation efforts falls on forest guards and District Forest Officer V. Thirunavukkarasu presented the Forest Hero award (sponsored by WWF) to anti-poaching watcher Nagabooshanam.

Nagabooshanam began his career as a 16-year-old volunteer in Masinagudi and went on to work along the Gudalur border where he helped nab an elephant poacher.

Mr. Thirunavukkarasu spoke on the need to go beyond awareness-generation into implementation efforts.

Chairman of Siruthuli S.V. Balasubramaniam took part.