An amur falcon, which was recently satellite-tagged and named ‘Manipur’ as part of the Amur Falcon Dance Festival 2018, was found killed in Tamenglong district Credit: EastMojo image

Imphal: Researchers have reportedly lost contact with ‘Tamenglong’, one of the two Amur falcons that were satellite-tagged and later set free from Chiuluan village in Manipur’s Tamenglong district on November 5 last year, after reaching Zambia in southern Africa.

The Amur falcon had not transmitted any signal after December 14; the last location of the bird was found to be the North Luangwa National Park of Zambia in southern Africa.

WII scientist R Suresh Kumar, who has been heading the study, has said that the failure in receiving signals could be because of some technical issues. It does not necessarily mean that the bird has lost its life, he added.

Weighing on average of 160 grams, Amur falcons are long-distance migratory birds and arrive in the Northeast, mainly in Manipur and Nagaland, on their south-bound migration around 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 Kumar of WII, 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.

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