How Arunachal Pradesh’s Bugun tribe won a National Conservation Award

Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh has been awarded the India Biodiversity Award for its effort to conserve the critically endangered bird – Bugun liocichla.

In the forests inhabited by the Bugun tribe in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district, 10 village boys take turns every week to patrol a 17 square kilometer special area. Trained by the Special Task Force of the Tamil Nadu police, the local youth are voluntary participants in what is probably the state’s first government-community collaboration in the forest conservation sector.

About Bugun liocichla:

Bugun Liocichla ( Liocichla bugunorum) was discovered in 2006 in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. The bird has been named in honor of the efforts of the Bugun community of Singchung village in West Kameng district in conserving the wildlife and forest of the area.

The known population of this species is between 14 and 20 individual birds and occupies an extremely small (3 to 4 square kilometer) area in the temperate forest around 2,200m which is entirely within the traditional lands of Singchung village.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has classified this species as critically endangered.

About SBVCR:

The Singchung Bugun village community reserve was formally created on February 6 last year following intensive conservation efforts by the Arunachal forest department. The SBVCR, 17 square kilometer in size, is the core area of a larger conservation area on traditional Bugun lands.

Conservation reserves and community reserves in India are terms denoting protected areas of India which typically act as buffer zones to or connectors and migration corridors between established national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserved and protected forests of India.

Such areas are designated as conservation areas if they are uninhabited and completely owned by the Government of India but used for subsistence by communities, and community areas if part of the lands are privately owned. Administration of such reserves would be through local people and local agencies like the gram panchayat, as in the case of communal forests.

The 2002 Amendment to the Indian Wildlife Protection Act (1972) calls for a new category of protected areas, a ‘Community Reserve’ (cr).

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