Nagaland turning into ‘Falcon capital’ for conservation

Kolkata:With the hunters of migratory Amur Falcon birds turning into protectors, Nagaland has become the “Falcon capital” of the world, officials said on Tuesday.

“Against the general perception of Naga people being compulsive hunters, the success of Amur Falcon conservation has put Nagaland on the global map; and the sheer number of the Amur Falcon population here has made it the ‘Falcon Capital’ of the world,” Nagaland’s divisional forest officer (Doyang) Zuthunglo Patton said in a statement. While migrating to African sub-continent every winter to escape the extreme cold of Siberia, thousands of Amur Falcon birds roost in Nagaland for over a month.

Till two years ago, the raptors were slaughtered in large numbers by locals and eaten as food. The forest official said focused and relentless awareness in the last one year had brought about the success.

“The communities of Pangti and adjoining villages in Wokha District have turned the spectacular migration of these magnificent birds into a lifetime opportunity for tourists whose jaws drop in pid Action Project (RAP), run by WTI and Natural Nagas with assistance of the state forest department to protect the birds, has now turned its attention on the Assam’s Dima Hasao district where also the birds stop for a few weeks during October and November where they are hunted and traded.

RAP’s Radhika Bhagat said they started an awareness programme in the area to encourage locals to help conserve these birds which play an important role in the eco-system by helping check the insect population.

The RAP project team is going to hold consultative meetings with the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council members along with forest department authorities and local village heads. The team was also pushing for a resolution against hunting of Amur falcons in Umrangso, she said. (PTI)

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