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- Context (TP I AT): Arunachal Pradesh, at the Republic Day parade, showcased its Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve (SBVCR).
- Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve is a 17-square-kilometre biodiversity hotspot, around 40 km from the famous Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The reserve was created in 2017 to protect biodiversity in the region.
- It is home to many rare and endangered species, such as the Bugun Liocichla (Liocichla bug forum) and the red panda (Ailurus fulgens), as well as various flora and fauna.
- It was one of the first bird species to be discovered in India since the country’s independence in 1947, and it lives only on the Buguns’ community lands.
- It was first spotted in 1995 in Arunachal Pradesh.
- However, the bird was first described in 2006 after being discovered in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary by an astrophysicist, Ramana Athreya.
- It is a songbird which is named after the Buguns community.
- It is a critically endangered species, with only 14 to 20 individuals believed to exist in the world.
- It is bigger than a sparrow but smaller than a pigeon.
- A five-day Bugun Liocichla Utsav was organised in 2021 at Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in AP.
- The Buguns are an indigenous community with a population of about 2,000 people, spread across 12 villages that are dotted outside the forests of Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The Buguns (formerly Khowa) are one of the earliest recognised schedule tribes of India.
- Majority of them inhabit the Singchung Sub-Division of West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh.
- They are primarily the inhabitants of Tenga Valley, and some also dwell in the subtropical forests near Bhalukpong in the Himalayan foothills of the West Kameng district.
- It is one of India’s smallest tribal communities.
- They speak Kho-Bwa language, which is derived from the words ‘Kho’ meaning fire and ‘Bwa’ for water, hence the name Khowa.
- The chieftain makes decisions on behalf of the community and decides the functioning of the society and the use of the forest resources.
- Buguns are generally endogamous as they marry within their community. Buguns live in several exogamous clans.
- The Buguns practice shifting agriculture (jhum), which is the traditional cultivation practice of most tribes in the region.
- Like most other Himalayan tribes of Arunachal, the Buguns also originally believed in animistic beliefs and nature worship; they were initially believers of the indigenous Donyi-Polo religion until they were exposed to the Tibetan faith.
- Buguns were later on exposed to Gelugpa Buddhism (A Tibetan Faith).
- Diying Kho is the main festival of the Buguns. The Buguns also celebrate the Buddhist festivals in the same Tibetan tradition.
- Conservation reserves & community reserves in India are terms denoting protected areas of India.
- These typically act as buffer zones, connectors, and migration corridors between established national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and reserved and protected forests in India.
- Such areas are designated as conservation reserves if they are uninhabited and completely owned by the GOI but used for subsistence by communities.
- Such areas are designated as community reserves if part of the land is privately owned.
- A community reserve is usually formed by the local village council and the forest department signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
- After a forest has been made into a community reserve, people cannot hunt there, nor can they use it for agricultural practices, leave alone jhum.
- There were hardly any community reserves in the country before 2006. Only Karnataka, Kerala and Punjab had community reserves in 2007.
- These protected are were introduced in the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act of 2002.
- The provisions of the WLPA apply to an area once it has been declared a community reserve.
- ENWS is a protected area in the Himalayan foothills of West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh.
- It conjoins Sessa Orchid Sanctuary to the northeast and Pakhui Tiger Reserve across the Kameng River to the east.
- ENWS acquired its name from the Indian army regiment named “Eagle”, which was stationed there years ago.
- ENWS’s prime draw is that it is considered among the top birding destinations in the world.
- BirdLife International has designated Eaglenest and Sessa sanctuaries as an Important Bird Area (IBA), recognising their significance for avian conservation.
- The sanctuary plays a crucial role in protecting the habitat and migration routes of Asian elephants, especially as they move to higher altitudes in the summer.
- Organizations like the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) are actively involved in conservation initiatives.
Important Bird Area