Arunachal: Upper Siang district records 10 new moth species, set to host first biodiversity meet

Arunachal: Upper Siang district records 10 new moth species, set to host first biodiversity meet

Arunachal Pradesh's Upper Siang district has discovered 10 new moth records for India, ahead of its first Biodiversity Meet. The discovery is a significant development in biodiversity conservation and results from two years of community-led conservation initiatives.

Arunachal's Upper Siang is home to over 250 butterflies, 650 moth and 200 bird species Arunachal's Upper Siang is home to over 250 butterflies, 650 moth and 200 bird species

With 10 new moth records for India, Arunachal Pradesh’s upper Siang opens doors for its first Biodiversity Meet to promote responsible tourism. Supported by the Titli Trust-Royal Enfield project for Responsible Tourism, 10 new moth records for India were recently discovered in the upper Siang district. The Siang Biodiversity Meet will be held from May 12 - 18 at Gobuk and Ramsing villages in Upper Siang District.

In a significant development in the world of biodiversity conservation, 10 new moth records for India have been discovered in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Siang district in the latest issue of the international scientific journal Tropical Lepidoptera Research. A first for India, the discovery and recording of these species comes on the back of two years of community-led conservation initiatives since 2022 conducted by the Titli Trust-Royal Enfield project for Responsible Tourism. Apart from the moth varieties, the 65 day-survey, conducted in the last two years, recorded more than 250 butterfly species, 650 moth species, 200 bird species, and numerous species of odonates. The butterfly “specials” include the Dark Freak, Blue-bordered Sergeant, Elusive Prince, Brown Gorgon, Yellow Gorgon, Margined Hedge Blue, and the Khaki Silverline; to name a few. The findings of the survey reaffirms the importance of the Upper Siang district, which is spread over 6,000 sq km, as a biodiversity hotspot and a welcome home for these pollinators.

“The new moth records in Gobuk reflect only a sliver of the incredible biodiversity in the Siang landscape, which deserves to be protected and nurtured. We are driven by our commitment to community-led conservation, green livelihoods and nurturing an ethos of responsible tourism in the Himalayas. Apart from biodiversity conservation, through our partnership with Titli Trust we support climate schools and responsible tourism fellowships, equipping youth to find meaningful ways to engage with their own heritage and landscapes to become frontrunners in climate action," says Bidisha Dey, Executive Director, Eicher Group Foundation, which is the CSR arm of Royal Enfield.

Putting their conservation learnings to action through this project, the Gobuk village banned hunting in their forests. The Green School, another initiative supported by Royal Enfield through Green Hub - Dusty Foot Foundation, is sensitising children and youth about their rich nature-linked legacy and the benefits of conserving flora and fauna for the community. Their initiative on supporting green-livelihoods is also seeing traction among local youth. 

“Titli Trust's work with forest dwelling communities in Gobuk, supported by Royal Enfield is seeing a positive ground-level impact. The Adi tribe, who are a majority of the 1,200 residents here, had not earlier viewed their biodiversity as a global treasure. Over the two years of our intervention they have adopted the concept of conservation and nature-linked livelihoods rapidly, and significantly reduced hunting. When biodiversity assessments in their area revealed 10 new moth records for India, no one was more surprised, and delighted than the residents of Gobuk village,” says Sanjay Sondhi, founder of Titli Trust. In addition to the recent moth discoveries, the Siang Biodiversity Meet will be held from 12th to 18th May at Gobuk and Ramsing villages in the Upper Siang district. This unique community-led week-long has drawn 25 nature enthusiasts and conservationists from across India and the world to explore the pristine landscape and biodiversity of the Upper Siang Valley.

At the heart of the Siang Biodiversity Meet is a commitment to local communities, biodiversity conservation and sustainability. The week-long immersion into the Siang ecosystem will be done through guided nature trails, educational presentations, and community engagement where participants will be encouraged to engage with biodiversity conservation. They will also embrace responsible travel practices such as zero waste, traditional biodegradable food packaging and experiencing local cultural diversity through homestays and green tourism initiatives. 

The event aims to be a catalyst for change, inspiring collective action and forging partnerships that will shape the future of conservation and responsible tourism in the iconic Himalayan landscape. The Siang Biodiversity Meet is organised by the Epum Sirum Welfare Society and Gobuk Welfare Society, community-based organisations based in Gobuk, in partnership with Titli Trust, a not-for-profit organisation focused on conservation and livelihoods in the Himalayas.

The meet is also supported by The Mouling National Park, the Arunachal Pradesh Forest Department and Royal Enfield. By supporting the conservation efforts at Siang Royal Enfield is facilitating responsible tourism and sustainable development in the Himalayas – a region the brand considers its ‘spiritual home’. Royal Enfield’s social mission is to build resilience in communities and nature in the iconic Himalayan Region. By 2030, it aims to enable 100 Himalayan communities and landscapes to adapt and thrive even in the face of climate change. The social mission also aims to catalyse a global movement of one million riders to explore sustainably and become active stakeholders in the mission.

Edited By: Puja Mahanta
Published On: May 13, 2024