Art for wildlife Conservation Initiative 1.0- Ladakh

Art for wildlife conservation initiative, Ladakh was a month long project that was aimed at unravelling the truth about the declining numbers of the Black-Necked Cranes in Ladakh. The project opened the doors to active participation and engagement on many levels by the community members and children of Ladakh. As a wildlife artist the onus lies upon me to use art as my weapon to help protect endangered species, especially when we are living in the age of the anthropocene.

The project kick started with an exhibition of hanging Black-necked crane sculptures at Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation. The Black-Necked crane is the state bird of Jammu and Kashmir and is listed in appendix 1 of CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which is an indication of the bird being endangered.The sculptures were modelled out of regular epoxy , paper and wire. Each feather was painstakingly cut to precision and glued on to the body of the bird.

The project gradually inflated into a series of workshops conducted with children from various schools in Leh town , Shey and Korzok  and one conducted at LAMO. A total of four workshops were conducted.

 The workshops entailed building cranes out of paper and wire, bird watching trips with bird guides and binoculars were conducted , they were introduced to bird feeders and houses too. The concept of citizen science was also established amongst them which will allow them to gather data on wildlife and share it with conservationists or publish it on web portals for use by scientists.

These workshops proved to be a great platform for environmental education and art for the children who participated. Interactions with many Ladakhi's have given me a clearer picture of the current environmental status of Ladakh. Ladakh's glaciers, wetlands and wildlife are in grave danger and the effects of climate change and urbanisation will be irreversible and it becomes indispensable to act now. This project has helped pave a way for my future initiatives on wildlife conservation in Ladakh.

The future of these children is in the hands of the developed nations and growing economies,the major polluters .There is an urgency to reduce the carbon foot print by moving rapidly towards renewable sources of energy. I have seen the wetlands shrinking in Ladakh , heard stories of how glaciers are melting at an unprecedented speed , witnessed the casual behaviour of Indian tourists and the effects of uncontrolled tourism on the landscape of Ladakh. These children are appealing for a safe and clean future. Clean , breathable air and water , too much to ask for? Let's not take away from them what was never ours to keep more so destroy. Julley!!

Link to the publication of this project :