WWF India, BNHS launch 'Dragonfly Festival 2020'

WWF India, BNHS launch 'Dragonfly Festival 2020' to create awareness for their conservation

Representative image. Credit: DH File photo

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF India), in collaboration with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), launched the third edition of Dragonfly Festival 2020.

The pan-India festival dedicated to dragonflies, aims to create awareness for the conservation of these insects.

The Dragonfly Festival started in 2018 to educate and inform the public about the integral role that dragonflies, and their lesser known siblings damselflies, play in our environment. The aim of the festival has always been to create a connection between the common man and these beautiful creatures.

Through the two years of this festival, numerous field visits with experts have been organized.

In 2018, dragonfly count was conducted by WWF India and BNHS and a total of 27 species were recorded in Delhi, five of which were rare sightings.

Radhika Suri, Director Environment Education, WWF India, said the Dragonfly Festival 2020 will be held in nine different states this year.

“I strongly believe that this festival will inspire younger generation to study odonates and help build awareness in their role as critical bioindicators. Discussions and advocacy for conservation of these insects in India is the need of the hour.”

Due to the current pandemic situation, WWF India, BNHS, and Indian Dragonfly Society (IDS) along with, UNEP, UNDP, NBA and IUCN decided to conduct this year’s Dragonfly Festival virtually.

The Dragonfly Festival 2020 aims at building awareness about the importance of these insects and the need to conserve them. WWF India, BNHS, and IDS will be training a group of volunteers to lead awareness programmes which will sensitize people about the importance of dragonflies and damselflies.

These volunteer-led programmes will be conducted across the country throughout the year.

Elaborating on the benefits of dragonflies, Sohail Madan, Centre Manager, BNHS said, “Dragonflies are some of the best predators to keep mosquito populations low. Not only do they scavenge the skies in adulthood, but they eat a large number of mosquito larvae in their larval form. Dragonflies can be the answer to the mosquito problem in India."

The Dragonfly festival 2020 was virtually launched by Ravi Singh, SG and CEO, WWF India and Dr Subramaniam, Scientist-E and officer-in-charge, Southern Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India.

The year-long festival will include a number of fun wildlife activities involving sessions with dragonfly experts, interactive webinars, prize-winning competitions on photography, art, storytelling, quizzes, and much more. The festival will also provide an opportunity to people to undertake citizen science projects on backyards counts, exploring the dragonflies across India and documenting their unique behaviour.