Manipur to conduct Amur Falcon census for the first time

Imphal: Manipur Forest Department, in a first in the state, would be carrying out a head count of Amur falcons in Zeliangrong-Naga dominated Tamenglong district where maximum of the birds roost. The exercise is a part of its upcoming string of programmes to safeguard and protect Amur falcons.

Notably, a first batch of the small-sized raptors numbering around 20 to 30 have landed in Tamenglong as locals on Friday witnessed them hovering in skies overhead a jungle close to the district headquarters.

Locally known as Akhuaipuina, the long-distance migratory birds usually land in Manipur, mostly in Tamenglong and neighbouring Nagaland in mid-October from their breeding grounds in Northern China and South Eastern Siberia, wildlife experts said.

After roosting for around a little more than a month, the falcons depart the state and fly towards the Southern and Eastern parts of Africa and flock for a short time before flying towards their breeding grounds, they added.

“We have engaged a prominent NGO from the state for conducting Amur falcon census on the spots (roosting sites). They will carry out the head count when the birds completely arrive in Tamenglong,” said Divisional Forest Officer of the Zeliangrong Naga-dominated district, Amandeep said on Friday. 

Generally, the number of birds flocked in the district varied from one roosting site to another, he said, adding that at some points, over 5000 falcons roosted while more than 50,000 were seen flocking at other roosting sites, he added.

“Once the census is conducted, we would maintain a data on their (falcons) arrival,” Amandeep continued.

The district’s forest unit as well as Rainforest Club Tamenglong (RCT) are all set to hold a series of programmes jointly to spread awareness among the villages, mostly the youths, to protect and show their love to the winged guest during their stint.

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Barely a week after the District Magistrate of Tamenglong, L Angshim Dangshawa released an order, banning on hunting, catching, killing and selling of the birds and using of air guns during the raptors’ roosting period, his Noney counterpart, Joseph Pauline Kamson, issued similar order on Friday.

RCT Secretary Ramhiamang Gonmei said that most of the birds usually flock in large numbers at the forest along Barak and Irang rivers.

Meanwhile, as done earlier, Amur Falcon Dance Festival will also be held by the forest authorities in collaboration with RCT next month.

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