Waari Singbul Network
Tamenglong: Head count of Amur falcons was conducted for the first time in Manipur at forest-rich Tamenglong district’s Chuilon village on Friday. Locals of Zeliangrong- Naga dominated Tamenglong district headquarters about 155 km from Imphal said that this time the number of the long-distance migratory birds arrived in the state is somewhat lesser than the previous years. Experts of Wildlife Explorer Manipur (WEM) supported by volunteers of the Rainforest Club Tamenglong (RCT) and forest staff carried out the census exercise at 3 roosting sites of the falcons in the thick jungles of Chuilon along the banks of Barak river since early in the morning till afternoon. The prominent animal lovers NGO, among other gadgets, used drones, Global Positioning System (GPS) devises, telephoto cameras etc. in the census task. According to WEM, the census figure of the raptors would be known after totaling the recorded figure of birds through the electronic gadgets from the three rooting sites. Because of poor internet service in the district, the tabulation could not be done immediately, WEM secretary, Elangbam Premjit Singh said. Divisional forest officer (Tamenglong) and the brainchild of the census exercise, Amandeep said “ the census task would give a big help in studying the migratory pattern in terms of numbers as well as our efforts in stepping up of the conservation works of the beautiful birds.” Ahead of the census programme , WEM experts provided a short term training course on bird census to RCT volunteers as well as village volunteers at Tamenlong district headquarters , Amandeep said. Besides the census programme, the division as well RCT are currently conducting up a series programmes to spread awareness among the villagers to show their love and protect the falcons during their seasonal migratory period in Tamenglong, the senior forest officer continued. As done in the previous years, Amur falcons landed in Manipur, mostly in Tamenglong and neighboring Nagaland in mid-October from their breeding grounds in South Eastern Siberia and Northern China. After roosting for about a month, the falcons locally known as Akhoipuina or Kahoipuina in the Rongmei dialect will fly towards the Southern and Eastern parts of Africa and flock for a short time before moving towards their breeding grounds, wildlife experts said. Premjit said 11 members of the NGO carried out the census at a cluster of three different roosting sites at Chuilon village. “Using drones, GPS devises and telephoto cameras two to three of us supported by RCT volunteers recorded the number of birds and other groups also did the same task simultaneously,” he added. WEM team in the census programme is headed by Kh Brajeshkumar , who is also a member of the Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN), Premjit said, adding that two of the team members have already received training from Wildlife Institute of India (WII).