66-year-old nature lover to cycle 800km to attend meet

Nagpur: Kishor Wankhade, 66, and his three young nature friends from Wardha will travel more than 800 km to attend the 33rd’ pakshimitra sammelan’ (birders ‘ meeting) at Revdanda in Alibagh district.

Wankhade and his likes might have preferred a vehicle to take part in the two-day state-level meeting starting on January 11, but the bird watchers have a message to save birding interest climate.

Well-known bird expert and author Raju Kasambe will open the sammelan. Many experts, bird lovers and country amateur bird watchers will participate.

“I didn’t even leave the ground at the age of 66. I’m still cycling, playing sports, running, walking and all kinds of physical activities that keep me fit, “says Wankhade, who is also chairman of the Bahar Nature Foundation (BNF), Wardha.

Wankhade will be joined by three other Bahar leaders — Dilip Virkhade, Deepak Gudhekar and Darshan Dudhane. On January 4, the party will leave Wardha and enter Alibagh on January 10 in 7 days, meaning that they will cover a distance of more than 100 km each day.

Wankhade said, “I have traveled 850 km last year to attend a similar birders ‘ meeting at the state level in Karad. Three years ago, I started attending these cycle meetings, effectively sending a message that cycle was the most environmentally friendly mode of transport and a safe replacement for fossil fuels. “Wankhade had previously attended similar cycle meetings in Vidarbha. The group will also meet with forest ministers in Mumbai and call for the declaration of 5-12 November as’ Pakshi Saptah ‘ (bird week) to commemorate the birthdays of two renowned Indian ornithologists— Dr Salim Ali (November 12) and Maruti Chitampalli (November 5).

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