DERGAON, May 12 - Jogibari or Japihojia in Golaghat district of Upper Assam, which is 5 kms off Golaghat town and 20 kms from Dergaon, is known for its promising rural tourism potential.
Tourists who flock to the world heritage site nearby, i.e., the world-famous Kaziranga National Park, often visit Jogibari Beel too, a wetland which is gradually becoming popular for its teeming resident birds, including some migratory avian species too.
An added attraction for nature lovers, the avian destination has in recent times lured prospective tourists from far and wide.
The wetland, it may be mentioned, is home to as many as 29 types of locally available avian species, besides migratory birds which frequent the waterbody.
Birds which are commonly sighted in Jogibari Beel include common teal, garganey, white-eyed pochard, marsh harrier and peregrine falcon, to name only a few.
The plot over which the wetland lies originally belonged to the Ahom kingdom, which is now under a local association that looks after conservation of the birds that frequent the Beel, including the wetlands around.
Measuring an area of approximately 62.5 acres (100 bighas), the wetland is the safest place for the resident birds of the area, and even for the migratory species. Come winter, and the skyline is filled with the sight and sound of these aerial wanderers. Hooting and whistling, they jostle for space in the food-rich waterbody.
Riding the thermals, some among the avians make a delightful sight, even as others wing their way through the aerial highways in v-shaped splendour. The area obviously reverberates with the sound of the resident and guest avians.
It is in this backdrop that the Jogibari Rural Tourism Project (JRTP) was taken up for development of rural tourism in the area, including bird conservation in Jogibari Beel.
The JRTP has been doing its level best under the leadership of Khumtai constituency MLA Mrinal Saikia to conserve the diverse bird species of the wetland since the last several years.
With active participation of the MLA , a two-day �Bird Festival� was organised on January 2017 with the motto �Save Birds, Maintain Ecology� to attract the masses towards conservation of our avian wealth, besides overall ecology.
The MLA rightly opined that if the local people evince interest in the nature conservation process, then the job at hand becomes much more easier to handle.
A positive outcome of the programme is that it kickstarted the nature conservation process among the local people. As a consequence, protection of birds and wetlands has gained momentum in the greater area as the people have finally realised that rural nature tourism spawned by this conservation effort can buttress their incomes too and boost the local economy.
Today being �International Day of Migratory Birds,� we pledge to make renewed efforts for protection of the avian guests, opined Biren Chandra Saikia of AASHRAY yesterday.