The Telegraph
Wednesday , February 5 , 2014
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UN praise for falcon saviour

- Nagaland gets pat, Meghalaya faces flak
The forest protection force, which was awarded the governor's commendation certificate for protecting the Amur falcons. Telegraph picture

Jorhat, Feb. 4: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has congratulated India, particularly the Nagaland government, for preventing the massacre of Amur falcons last year.

In a letter to former Union minister of environment and forest Jayanthi Natarajan, the executive secretary of the UNEP (convention of migratory species) Bradnee Chambers, wrote: “I wish to congratulate the government of India for their continued work with the local Naga community and to further promote community-based conservation to protect the Amur falcon in Nagaland.”

The letter stated that the UNEP/CMS was confident that India would continue to work towards the conservation of Amur falcons and other migratory birds of prey in the long term.

The letter lauded the people of Nagaland, stating that it was crucial to recognise the willingness of the Naga people to voluntarily withdraw from harvesting the falcons and to work proactively to develop alternative ways to generate income.

The efforts of the Nagaland forest department and villagers of Wokha district ensured that not a single falcon was killed last year on their way to South Africa from Siberia.

Till a few years back, there were reports that hundreds of these migratory raptors were killed in Nagaland when they arrived at the Doyang reservoir in Wokha to roost every winter.

Three Amur falcons were also fitted with satellite tracking devices this year in Nagaland to monitor their movement.

“All the three birds, Naga, Wokha and Pangti, are in southern Africa now. While one bird was spotted in Botswana yesterday, the other two are in South Africa,” a senior forest officer in Nagaland told The Telegraph today.

The UNEP letter stated that the conservation efforts in India generated immense amount of positive publicity, both within India and internationally, and this has given out a positive message on conservation.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has also congratulated the Nagaland forest department for “excellent work done for the protection of Amur falcons”.

Two forest range officers of Nagaland and the forest protection force also received the governor’s awards for their services in conservation this year.

This was the first time that forest department officers were awarded with governor’s gold medals in Nagaland.

The forest protection force was awarded with the governor’s commendation certificate for protecting the Amur falcon.