World Wetlands Day 2024 Celebration

SENSE collaborated with the Alumni Association for Conservation and Development (AACD) to celebrate World Wetlands Day 2024. Together, we hosted competitions where participants showcased their passion for wetland conservation through artistic posters, photography, and creative slogans resonating the theme of this year’s World Wetlands Day celebration “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing”. The event was supported by multiple partners and stakeholders – Banke National Park, Nepal Tourism Board, Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance, Wild Care, NTNC Bardiya, DFO Banke, Bird Conservation Nepal, Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation, Wildlife Research & Education Network.

Celebrations at Kanwa Tal:

The team embarked on an adventure Sutiya Tal in Baijanatha Rural Municipality of Banke district from February 6 till February 9. Excitement buzzed in the air as they prepared for their journey, eager to explore this enigmatic wetland. Their anticipation soon met a twist when they delved into their research. Online searches yielded scant information about Sutiya Tal, leaving them puzzled. Consulting Google Maps only deepened the mystery, as the area was labeled as “Viral Tal,” a name imbued with the social media fame of TikTok. It seemed that this wetland had gained popularity through the lens of local tourists’ videos and photos, unintentionally earning the moniker “Viral Tal.” However, the locals knew it by a different name entirely: Sutaiya Tal. Here, “Suthi” whispered in the Tharu language, carrying the meaning of oyster. Yet, as the team explored, no evidence of oysters could be found amidst the lush landscape. The mystery deepened further as they pondered the origins of this intriguing name. Why was it called Sutaiya Tal? Their curiosity drove them to dig deeper, spending days amidst the wetland, working and observing. Finally, their research questions bore fruit as they unraveled the true name of the place: Kanwa Tal. In the beautiful Tharu language, “Konwa” painted a picture of vastness, translating to “corners.” It was a fitting name for this expansive wetland, stretching from one corner of the horizon to another, a true marvel of nature’s grand design. 

 

Figure 1. Kanwa Tal at dawn. 

As they approached, their voices trailed off, stolen by the sight that greeted them. The lake rested like a mirror under the open sky, its tranquil waters echoing with the whispers of bird songs and the vibrant life bustling around its shores. Around it, a sprawling meadow stretched, untouched by the city’s hustle, a canvas of tranquility. From the heart of the lake, mighty trees rose, their branches a symphony for the birds, weaving tales with each flutter of wing. Yet amidst this natural wonder, a discordant note echoed. The team’s trained eyes quickly discerned the issue: the community, oblivious and uninformed, had become unwitting perpetrators in the demise of their own treasure. 

Visitors, drawn by the allure of Kanwal Tal, left behind a trail of neglect. Picnic remnants littered the once-pristine landscape, from discarded wrappers to forgotten water bottles. Despite the influx of tourists, the area lacked even a basic provision—a humble dustbin—to contain the mess. There, amidst the beauty, livelihood entrepreneurs hawked their wares, oblivious to the wrappers and waste scattered in the wetland’s margins.