Last month the Wildlife SOS Team, that is local to the region, was invited to attend the Pahalgam Winter Festival. Pahalgam is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is well known for its expansive scenic views and is a popular tourist destination. This event was planned by the Tourism Department of Jammu and Kashmir in order to bring together a diverse group of people and to spread awareness about issues surrounding conservation and eco-tourism. Many people gather in Pahalgam, for this event, from all over the world, India, and the local region.
During the two-day festival, attendees were also able to enjoy traditional music, art and photography exhibitions, street food, a cultural walk, and many other forms of entertainment. WSOS was assigned a stall where people could stop by and converse with the team. Our education officer, Aaliya Mir, had the opportunity to speak with attendees about the importance of conservation and the practice of responsible eco-tourism. She emphasized that if the environment is not treated properly, no one will be able to enjoy its beauty. Pamphlets were supplied along with other educational materials. People were also able to ask questions, and discuss the nature of the work our organization does on a day-to-day basis. If interested, visitors were able to also purchase merchandise that was displayed.
Among the various topics that were brought up, our team discussed the effort to create more conservation-centered activity in the region. In the near future, Wildlife SOS plans on holding a plantation drive within the Khrew Conservation Reserve. A good portion of this region has been negatively affected by contamination from surrounding cement factories. The addition of conifers and other species of trees will aid in removing the contaminants that are present in the soil. It was a great way to bring awareness to the community as well as provide them with an avenue to volunteer their time to an important cause.
Overall, the Pahalgam Winter Festival was extremely successful and had many positive reactions from the people that attended. It was a great experience for our team to be able to be present and further spread the message of responsible eco-tourism and conservation. We look forward to such events in the future as well!