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Newmai hails success of Amur Falcon conservation project

 Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 03 2020: The success of the Amur Falcon conservation project has boosted the morales of the Forest Department and is planning to take up other ambitious projects such as conservation of Hornbill, Serow and Tiger, said Forest, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Awangbow Newmai today.

Speaking to media persons at his conference hall at the Secretariat, the Minister said that the successful return of the satellite radio transmitter tagged Amur Falcons, Irang and Chiulon at their roosting site at Puching village in Tamenglong district has put Manipur on the global conservation map.

"The conservation project has successfully recorded the migratory patterns of the birds.

The success of the project has boosted the morale of the Forest Department and all involved.

The Department is planning other ambitious projects such as conservation of the Hornbill (Uchek Langmeidong), Serow (Sabeng) and Tiger," Newmai said.

Dubbed as Manipur's Amur brand ambassadors, Irang and Chiulon had returned to Puching village after 361 days.

Amur Falcons spend summer at their breeding ground in eastern Siberia and northern China and migrate with stopovers in North-East India and cross Arabia Sea to reach South Africa, where they spend winter.

Chiulon had reached its roosting site at Puching village on October 26 and Irang a day later, said Newmai adding, that the Forest Department with the Wildlife Institute of India had for the first time started the project to conserve and study the migratory patterns of the Amur Falcons by fitting two birds with satellite radio transmitters in November 2018 .

One male Amur Falcon named 'Manipur' and another a female named 'Tamenglong' were fitted with satellite radio transmitters.

However, the Amur Falcon, Manipur was killed shortly after its release by poachers at Khebuching area bordering Tamenglong and Noney district.

The unfortunate incident had created mass awareness and consciousness among the people about the need for conservation of the bird, said Newmai adding poaching activities have drastically decreased since then.

Here, it may be noted that contact with the other female Amur Falcon, Tamenglong was lost after it reached Zambia on its way to Somalia.

Newmai continued that the Forest Department and the Wildlife Institute of India had then fitted satellite radio transmitters on five Amur Falcons, named Irang, Barak, Chiulon, Phalong and Puching in November last year.

While three of the birds, Chiulon, Puching and Phalong were named after villages in Tamenglong district, the other two were named Irang and Barak taking the names of two of the State's famous rivers.

Appreciating the officials of the Forest Department, Wildlife Institute of India and all involved for their collective efforts in the conservation project, Newmai said Irang and Chiulon may stay at their roosting site at Tamenglong for around a month and then leave for South Africa crossing the Arabian Sea to spend the winter.

He also informed that there will be no Amur Falcon Festival this year due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Wildlife Warden Dr AK Joshi, who was also present, said conservation of the Amur Falcons not only preserve the natural ecosystem but also benefits the farmers of Tamenglong.

These small raptors of the Falcon family prey on small insects and pests which destroy vegetables and crops.

Stating that the conservation of the bird requires public cooperation, he thanked the local communities, villages and all organisations involved in the project.

He also informed that the staff of the Forest Department are conducting regular patrolling in the roosting site at Puching village to protect the birds and spread awareness.

Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), L Lukhoi and DFO Kh Hitler were also present.

Meanwhile, Wildlife Institute of India has said that Chiulon has reached its roosting site at Chiulon village yesterday.

It may be mentioned that Irang and Chiulon had covered about 29,000 kilometres and 33,000 kilometres respectively to reach Manipur.