| Doyang catchment area in Wokha district. Telegraph picture |
Kohima, Sept. 11: The state government is taking measures to ensure safe passage for migratory Amur falcons after news of their slaughter for meat attracted the attention of the international community.
Principal chief conservator of forests, M. Lokeswara Rao, said his department would do its best to convince the people to conserve and allow safe passage to Amur falcons. The birds come to the state in October-November and migrate to South Africa.
“This year the forest department is taking various precautionary measures to give a safe passage to our feathered guests, the Amur falcons,” he said.
Large numbers of Amur falcons are killed in Doyang catchment area in Wokha district every year.
The state government has directed all recognised villages to utilise the grants given through the village development board (VDB) to protect the birds. It has proposed that all villages would be responsible for conservation and wildlife preservation within their jurisdiction.
Any village that defies the order would be penalised by halting the grants and the funds would be utilised to protect the environment.
The forest department has written to the district deputy commissioners and wildlife wardens to co-ordinate with the rural development department to issue appropriate orders banning hunting immediately.
The principal chief conservator of forests said his department, with the help of forest staff, were involving the local communities, village councils, NGOs and students in awareness campaigns.
He said a milestone in conservation of Amur falcon in the state had been achieved with three villages in Wokha district pledging to save the migratory birds.
He suggested that the Doyang catchment area, which has been internationally recognised for Amur falcon migration during October-November, should be converted into an eco-tourism spot. He said this would also improve the economic condition of the people of the area.
During October-November, Amur falcons pass through Mokokchung, Wokha, Kohima and part of Zunheboto districts while migrating to southern Africa from Siberia and Mongolia.
Village council members of Pangti, Asshaa and Sungro villages under Wokha district have signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the Wildlife Trust of India and the Wokha-based NGO, Natural Nagas, to assist the Nagaland forest department to stop wide-scale hunt of Amur falcon in the Doyang reservoir.