| Awaiting welcome |
Guwahati, Nov. 2: Numerous waterbodies along the Brahmaputra are being spruced up to welcome migratory birds which flock to this part of the world as winter sets in.
The feathered beauties, some from as far as Siberia, will start coming from early next month.
Forest department officials said several rounds of meetings with members of NGOs based near the banks of the Brahmaputra had been held and their cooperation sought to protect the birds from poachers.
“We have also cleaned up a few waterbodies which were covered with unwanted growth,” a forest official based in Upper Assam said.
A vast stretch of waterbodies located along the Brahmaputra in Upper Assam is home to about 200 species of local birds, including greater adjutant storks, swamp partridge and cranes.
Every winter, thousands of migratory birds of different species, including grey and white pelicans, flock these areas to roost.
The bird habitats in Upper Assam stretch over an area from Kaziranga National Park in the west to Panidihing bird sanctuary in Sivasagar district in the east.
A forest department official based in Jorhat said that apart from plans to depute extra manpower to guard these water bodies, the members of the NGOs had been asked to cooperate with forest guards in protecting the winter guests.
There are reports of migratory birds being killed by poachers and sold at roadside dhabas.
“Meat of migratory birds is considered a delicacy and the poachers kill the birds to make a quick buck,” the forest official said.
The official said awareness meetings would be held soon in villagers located near the banks of the river on how to protect these birds.
“We have selected a few schools in some villages in the district where meetings will be held next Sunday. We will also distribute leaflets among the villagers and schoolchildren,” the official said.
It would be impossible to protect these birds from the poachers round the clock and that too in such remote locations without the help of villagers, he said.
The poachers spray poison and cast fishing nets on the waterbodies to capture the migratory birds. “Poachers spread these nets late at night and the birds get trapped early next morning,” the official said, adding that last year several birds were found dead in a waterbody where poachers had sprayed poison.