Imphal: Just a couple of days after EastMojo reported that the Manipur government was mulling to impose a ban on the use of guns over the killing of an amur falcon, two districts of the state have taken a positive step forward in this direction.
Issuing strict warning to those who are involved in the killing of the migratory bird, the authorities concerned at the Tamenglong and Noney districts of Manipur have now imposed a ban on the use of air guns.
“In the interest of protecting the migratory bird, amur falcon, locally known as Akhuipuina, the office of the deputy commissioner, Noney has notified all the citizens of district that the said migratory bird shall be protected during its stay and roosting period in the district,” a notification said.
On November 8, the Tamenglong district administration had issued a similar order strictly prohibiting the use of air guns along Irang river near Gwangram, Puching, Rangkhung and Taobam villages.
Last week, an amur falcon, which was recently satellite-tagged and named ‘Manipur’ as part of the Amur Falcon Dance Festival 2018, was found killed by unknown miscreants at Kebuching bordering the Tamenglong and Noney districts of the state.
Weighing 160 grams on an average, amur falcons are long-distance migratory birds and arrive in the Northeast, mainly in Manipur and Nagaland, on their south-bound migration during October from their breeding grounds in northern China, eastern Mongolia and far-east Russia en-route to their wintering grounds in South Africa. The one-way journey from their breeding to wintering grounds via India is about 20,000 km and they do this twice a year.
On November 4, a team of officials led by Suresh Kumar of the Wildlife Institute of India, the state forest department under DFO Arun RS and biologists from Hungary captured five amur falcons using canopy mist-nets at a community forest area of Chiuluan village along the Barak river in Tamenglong district.
Following assessment for body and feather condition, two fittest birds out of five were attached with GPS satellite tags and released in the morning of November 5. While the male bird was named ‘Manipur’, the female one was called ‘Tamenglong’. The satellite tagging of the two birds were informed to the villagers of Tamenglong on the day of the ‘4th Amur Falcon Dance Festival’ held in the district around that time.
Amur falcons spend three to four weeks in many parts of Manipur to build fat reserves by foraging on termites that emerge during this time. As a result, this stop-over site in Northeast becomes extremely crucial to the amur falcons as they need to make a five to six days of non-stop flight across peninsular India and then make a sea crossing over the Arabian Sea to their next stop-over site in Somalia.