June issue 2018
The hall at the Alliance Française came alive with photographs of beautiful birds that were captured by a group of photographers who had spent three years photographing Sindh’s stunning wildlife. The photographs were from a collection of seven photographers – Mirza Naim Beg, Fahad Siddiqui, Nusrat Ihsan, Nusrat Ali, Khurram Kalimi, Saad Aleem and Jamal Tariq. The exhibition, which ran for three days, was the second Birds of Sindh photo exhibition to be held, the previous one being in November 2016.
“People have little awareness of the beautiful birds to be found in Pakistan; consequently the torture that these birds go through remains largely unnoticed and no one cares about it,” explains retired banker and photographer, Mirza Naim Beg.
The photographers shot over 100 species of birds, increasing their number of visits and venturing into unexplored areas to capture the glory of these undiscovered birds. This has, in turn, increased the photographers and the bird-watching fraternity. The project began in 2016 with merely four photographers. Three new members joined later, making it a project of seven photographers. The number of species explored has risen from 125 to 268 species, creating a record that no wildlife conservationist organisation has managed to surpass. This year’s exhibition showcased Sindh’s migratory birds, in addition to the local birds.
From the endangered vultures to the kingfishers, the exhibition covered a whole range of birds residing in different parts of Sindh. Trips to places such as Tharparkar proved arduous; additionally, people were scared to take along their expensive equipment for safety reasons. Nonetheless, Beg gathered a group of enthusiasts, including girls, and managed to capture myriad alluring pictures of the birds.
“Our mission is to spread awareness regarding this endangered species and explore ways of creating a safe habitat for them,” says Beg, who also spearheads a wildlife conservationist organisation and has made wildlife photography his life’s mission. “We’re fighting a difficult battle here – with all our might.”