- Sujal Pradhan, NET Correspondent, Sikkim
In accordance with the GEF-GOI-UNDP SECURE Himalaya project of the Forest and Environment Department, the auspicious celebration of ‘Pang Lhabsol’ was observed at Thangu in North Sikkim with conservation and awareness based activities in collaboration with the Lachen Tourism Development Committee (LTDC) and the Lachen Dzumsa.
A statue of a snow leopard, locally called Saagey, was unveiled near the tourist cafe of Thangu by the LTDC members and SECURE Himalaya project officials.
The effigy envisages to sensitize the tourists towards the importance of the rare animal, which is the focal species for the SECURE Himalaya project, and also towards significance of Thangu and Gurudongmar areas as snow leopard habitats.
Field officials of the KNP and Mangan Territorial divisions of the Forest Department were also present during the occasion.
Subsequently, after the rituals were completed at the Thangu monastery, improved field kits consisting of jackets, high quality boots and solar lights with mobile charging capability were distributed to 20 Dokpas or traditional yak herders, through the Lachen Pipon and senior members of the Dzumsa.
The yak herders were also given simple pictorial manuals to note down future sightings of rare wildlife species and also their threats, which are hoped to generate a vital database on biodiversity and it’s associated threats in the area.
Meanwhile, the Lachen Pipon also lauded the initiatives and hoped for similar collaborative activities with LTDC and the Dzumsa for improving conservation and livelihood scenarios in the region.