Port Blair, Nov. 29: The two-week workshop on Bird Identification and Basic Ornithology under the Accelerate Vigyan Scheme (AV) organised by Zoological Survey of India, Andaman and Nicobar Regional Centre, Port Blair concluded today.

Dr. R.S.C. Jayaraj, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Andaman & Nicobar Islands was the Chief Guest, while Dr. Ramakrishna, Director (Retd.), Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, Shri. T. N. Krishnamoorthy, Chief Engineer and Administrator, Andaman & Lakshadweep Harbour Works, Port Blair and Dr. S. Senthil Kumar, IFS, Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Department of Environment & Forests, Andaman & Nicobar Islands were the Guests of Honor. The programme was also attended by delegates from Dept. of Environment & Forests, Botanical Survey of India, Pondicherry University, Jawaharlal Nehru Rajakiya Mahavidyalaya, Andaman Law College, Central Island Agricultural Research Institute, Scientific fraternity, academicians and trainees of the SERB/DST.  The ceremony was started with a welcome song and lightening of traditional lamp by the dignitaries.

The Chief Guests, Dr. R.S.C. Jayaraj, IFS, addressed the gathering by thanking all the dignitaries and Department of Science & Technology, Government of India for taking the initiative in providing skill training under Accelerate Vigyan in his valedictory address. He highlighted that the trainees must know the importance of bird identification and how they can publish their findings as short note which can benefit them with various opportunities. He also emphasized about the three-fold benefits from the course work i.e. the trainees will gain knowledge on the conservation strategies and policies, taxonomic identification, indirect services of birding as a guide in bird tourism. Dr. Jayaraj mentioned that ecotourism involves visiting fragile, remote, undisturbed, natural areas rather than popular tourist spots which itself requires educated people. It also involves the protection and conservation of natural resources, the flora and fauna. It also aims to support the local people, tribes and wildlife. Since it brings in money, ecotourism is frequently seen as an incentive for protecting habitats and species and thus can be promoted to the local communities of the island.

The Guest of Honour Dr. Ramakrishna, former Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata felicitated the gathering. In his felicitation address, he beautifully described the basic concepts of ornithology. The speaker then gave his insights on environmental awareness and conservation of species and how these two sectors are webbed in ecotourism. He signified about the use of molecular taxonomy and how it has shaped the knowledge on the evolution of avifauna. He then remarked upon the contribution of local population and the environment and interlinks which embarks the sustainability and education of youth.

Shri. T. N. Krishnamoorthy, Chief Engineer and Administrator, Andaman & Lakshadweep Harbour Works, Port Blair greeted the audience with his brief yet encouraging speech. The speaker mentioned very simply the role of employment and the education remarking upon the benefits from the workshop. He justified the bird watching and the passion for bird identification is a great force for any birder to create opportunities in the ecotourism sector. He mentioned the various incidents in which he has encountered many birds and how Dr. Sivaperuman was eager to help him with the identification. He encouraged the students to engage themselves with nature and learn how birds behave in their niches through which they can mould their own personality.

Dr. Senthil Kumar, IFS, Chief conservator of forest (Wildlife), in his felicitation address, praised the current workshop for helping participants develop their green skills and for bringing together a diverse group of students. He asserted that we can learn a lot about this from others when we interact with academics from various fields. He used his personal experiences to encourage students by pointing out the low employability of the majority of academic programmes. Therefore, these drives, which were initiated by the Indian government, aim to upskill the human resources so that they can support individuals in finding employment more effectively. He also emphasised the significance of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands' extensive biodiversity, which can be explored by potential tourists by the assistance of trained manpower. The workshop will be extremely helpful to participants.  He extended his wishes to everyone who participated and successfully completed the workshop. He also complimented ZSI for creating such programme, and asked them to continue making similar efforts in the future.

Dr. Sivaperuman, Officer-in-Charge, ZSI, Port Blair, welcomed the dignitaries, invited guests, trainees and participants. In his welcome address he reported a comparative data from previous workshops. He significantly said how the workshop has helped the students to attain a better understanding of facilities present in the islands. He thanked Department of Science and Technology for providing the opportunity to host this kind of training programme for a second time. He also mentioned that students from various institutes such as Tagore Government College of Education, IGNOU, Jawaharlal Nehru Rajakiya Mahavidyalaya, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Pondicherry University has participated in this two-week workshop.  He has highlighted about the lecture class and field visits by the trainees, and they have identified total of 81 species of birds, of 13 were endemic and 20 were migratory species.  The function concluded with the feedbacks from the trainees from various institutes and vote of thanks.

The workshop is sponsored by Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.