Tamenglong: The first-ever survey of Amur falcons in Manipur’s Tamenglong district has put the long-distance migratory birds’ population at around 1,41,274.
The headcount of the migratory raptor was carried out on Friday by 11 members of Wildlife Explorers, Manipur (WEM), a key animal lovers’ group in the state, supported by volunteers of the Rainforest Club, Tamenglong (RCT), and forest staff at Chiuluan village, one of the seven roosting sites of the Falcon in the Zeliangrong-Naga-dominated district.
During the survey, the team used drones, Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, and telephoto cameras to conduct the census.
The other six roosting sites are Guangram, Bhalok, Matung, Puching, Punglam and Duigailong, said the WEM experts.
“Initially, we wanted to carry out the census survey in all the seven sites, but due to the prevailing situation and logistics problem, we limited our census to one major roosting site at Chiuluan village,” said WEM president Khoyumthem Brajesh Kumar on Monday.
He also stated that the survey aimed to estimate the number of birds roosting in the Chiuluan village area as a pilot project so that a complete census of the Amur falcon population for the district could be taken in the future.
Brajesh also informed that before the survey, the team had trained 15 volunteers from RCT for handling GPS and other assistance on November 7 and conducted a mock survey the following day to ensure there were no hiccups on the survey day.
“We are the first team in India to carry out the census survey with a result,” said Brajesh, adding that his team has been involved in bird counting and other ecological surveys like wetlands for over a decade. As informed by the expert, the survey at the Chiuluan roosting site began at about 6:15 am and ended around 8 am.
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Actually, we wanted to start the survey in the early hours, but due to the thick fog at the roosting site, located in a bamboo forest near the banks of Barak River about 160 Km from Imphal, the visibility was very poor to conduct the census task, said Brajesh.
He further informed that the team used cameras only for help, however, the survey was carried out visually/manually.
Amur falcons, locally known as Akhoipuina or Kahoipuina in the Rongmei dialect, have landed in Manipur, mostly in Tamenglong and neighbouring Nagaland in mid-October from their breeding locations in South Eastern Siberia and Northern China.
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