Arunachal Pradesh’s Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival gears up for its 9th Edition

The first-ever PPHF was held on January 16-18, 2015, with the aim of recognising the efforts of the Nyishi hunters-turned-conservationists of hornbills
Young Nyishis participating in the Pakke Paga Horbill Festival in Arunachal Pradesh last year. Photo provided by PPHF Committee
Young Nyishis participating in the Pakke Paga Horbill Festival in Arunachal Pradesh last year. Photo provided by PPHF Committee

Young Nyishis participating in the Pakke Paga Horbill Festival in Arunachal Pradesh last year. Photo provided by PPHF Organising Committee

The 9th edition of the Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF), a state festival of Arunachal Pradesh, will take place at Seijosa in the Pakke Kessang district from January 18-20, 2024, according to a statement by the organising committee.

The festival focuses on wildlife conservation, with a particular emphasis on hornbills. Four species of the birds — Wreathed, Great Indian, Oriental Pied and the endangered Rufous-necked — are found in the Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR) of Arunachal Pradesh.

The area is also home to the Nyishi, the largest tribal group in Arunachal Pradesh. Down To Earth (DTE) had reported in 2019 about the announcement by then Chief Minister Pema Khandu declaring PPHF a state festival.

The first-ever PPHF was held on January 16-18, 2015. The aim was to recognise the role played by the Nyishi in conserving hornbills in PTR. The Nyishi had formerly hunted hornbills and used their bills to craft traditional headgear. They had later turned hornbill conservationists.

Other objectives were to raise alternative sources of income for the region and to create awareness in the rest of India about the wonders of PTR and its surrounding areas.

This year, the festival’s theme is Domutoh Domutoh, Paga hum Domutoh. It translates to ‘Let Our Hornbills Remain’ in the Nyishi language. This year’s festival aims to underscore the critical need for preserving these iconic birds, the statement noted.

Arunachal Pradesh’s Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and Nyishi Elite Society President Professor Tana Showren will attend the inaugural ceremony on January 18.

Preparations for the PPHF festival at Seijosa. Photo: PPHF Organising Committee

PPHF Secretary Prem Camdir said, “We should learn to coexist and live in harmony with wildlife and nature.”

The festival has had a positive impact over the years in uniting people from diverse backgrounds to combat pollution, protect wildlife, and address environmental degradation, he added. “PPHF epitomises a deep connection between man, nature, and society,” Camdir stated.

The festival will include activities like bird-watching, butterfly walks, bear walks, hornbill roost site visits, literary competitions, MTB cycling, short film screenings, panel discussions, cultural programs, food stalls, plays, sightseeing tours, river and village walks, as well as displays of local tribal sports and dances, the statement said.

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