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The Annapurna Express

The 22nd International Festival of Owls was held in Houston, Minnesota, in the United States from March 1-3.The festival was originally started in 2003 to commemorate the first hatching by a Great Horned Owl named Alice, which was rescued with a broken wing and was unable to survive in the wild.

“Alice fell from her nest when she was just three months old. She is still under our care,” Karla Bloem, the director of the International Owl Center, said. Rescued owls from seven different species, including Great Horned Owls, Snowy Owls, and Barn Owls, who are unable to survive in the wild, were put on display at the festival to raise awareness about the need for owl conservation.

Presentation by Krishna Mani Baral in The 22nd International Festival of Owls was held in Houston, Minnesota, in the United States 2024.

Researchers, scientists, conservation activists, among others, from different countries made presentations on different aspects of owls during the festival. To better launch awareness about owl conservation, the organizers also organized a competition among kids to produce owl sounds and several other events.

Dr Martin Salek, a little owl researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Biology under the Czech Academy of Sciences, spoke on the importance of owls and their conservation. Likewise, Dr Roar Solheim, a researcher from Norway, made a presentation on the importance and identity of owls.

The 22nd International Festival of Owls in Houston, Minnesota Participants.

An art exhibition on owls showcasing creations of over 4,000 artists from 33 different countries was one of the major attractions of the festival. Several posters and banners related to owl conservation were exhibited inside and outside the event venue.

According to the organizers, the festival saw the participation of over 3,000 people ranging from students to researchers and the elderly.

Douglas Thompson (79), one of the participants of the festival, said the festival was helping in the promotion of ecotourism and the conservation of different birds and wildlife species.

Nepal has also been holding conservation festivals to raise awareness for the conservation of owls. A two-day Npeal Owl Festival was organized at Lek Phant in Jaljala Rural Municipality of Parbat district last month. A documentary on owl conservation was exhibited during the festival. The festival is being organized by an organization named Friends of Nature.

Photo and video exhibition

An exhibition of a photo story related to the rescue of three different species of owls by journalist and conservation activist Krishna Mani Baral was also organized during the International Owl Festival.

An exhibition of a photo story related to the rescue of three different species of owls by journalist and conservation activist Krishna Mani Baral .

Likewise, a documentary showcasing Nepal’s ecological diversity, ecotourism, owl conservation, and activities of the Nepal Owl Festival was also shown during the event.

Speaking on the occasion, Baral said festivals like these are becoming effective in raising awareness about owl conservation. “Nepal may be a small country in terms of geography. However, the country is home to great bio and geographical diversity with topography stretching from the lowlands of Tarai to as high as Sagarmatha—the tallest peak on earth.”

A total of 892 species of birds have been recorded in Nepal so far. Likewise, 23 species of owls have been recorded in Nepal, compared to 19 in the US.

News link: The Annapurna Express

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