The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF India), in collaboration with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), on Monday launched Dragonfly Festival, 2020. The pan-India festival dedicated to dragonflies aims to create awareness for the conservation of these insects. Also Read - MI vs CSK IPL 2020: Will Josh Hazlewood, Sam Curran be Available For Selection Amid COVID Protocols, SOP's?

Started in 2018, the festival focuses on creating a connection between the common man and the insects. In 2018, a dragonfly count was conducted by WWF India and BNHS and a total of 27 species were recorded in Delhi, five of which were rare sightings. Also Read - IPL 2020: CSK Batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad Tests COVID Positive Again, to Remain in Quarantine

The festival was virtually launched by Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO of WWF India. Dr. Subramaniam, Scientist and officer-in-charge of the Southern Regional Centre of Zoological Survey of India delivered a talk on the importance of dragonflies and the role of citizens in their conservation. Also Read - Lionel Messi to be Asked by Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu to Accept Wage Cut Amid COVID Pandemic

Subramaniam emphasised that societal participation for mass data generation on dragonflies is imperative to understand their lives, habitats and protection. Free and easy accessibility of this data for the public is key, and hence must be put on common platforms.

Radhika Suri, Director Environment Education, WWF India, said “I strongly believe that this festival will inspire the younger generation to study odonates and help build awareness in their role as critical bio-indicators. Discussions and advocacy for conservation of these insects in India is the need of the hour.”

Due to the Covid pandemic, the decision was made to conduct the Dragonfly Festival virtually.

Elaborating on the benefits of dragonflies, Sohail Madan, Centre Manager of Bombay Natural History Society, said “Dragonflies are some of the best predators to keep mosquito populations low. Not only do they scavenge the skies in adulthood, but they eat a large number of mosquito larvae in their larval form. Dragonflies can be the answer to the mosquito problem in India.”

The year-long festival will include a number of fun wildlife activities involving sessions with dragonfly experts, interactive webinars, prize-winning competitions on photography, art, storytelling, quizzes, and much more.

It will also provide an opportunity to people to undertake citizen science projects on backyard counts, exploring the dragonflies across India and documenting their unique behaviour.