Protecting Migratory birds: Manipur Village ban on Amur Falcon hunting, Air Guns

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Imphal, Nov 06, 2023, IANS

 People of the famed and picturesque Shirui village in Tangkhul-Naga dominated Ukhrul district have put a ban on killing and hunting of animals and birds in their area for three years.

These praiseworthy steps came at a time when forest officials and villagers of Tamenglong district have stepped up efforts to protect Amur falcons, their winged guests.

About 93 km from Imphal, Shirui, one of the key tourist hot spots of the northeastern state, is famous for its beautiful and rare Shirui lily, which grows only in Shirui mountain peaks.

Forest officials said that Britisher Frank Kingdon Ward had in 1948 discovered Shirui Lily (Lilium mackliniae), a beautiful flower that blooms in the month of May and June.

The Manipur government in 1989 had declared Shirui Lily as the state flower.

 According to the forest officials, Shirui village authorities besides prohibiting killing of animals and birds within the village’s jurisdiction, have also put a total ban on using air guns and firearms to promote conservation and biodiversity of the area for three years with effect from October.

The village headmen of the Ukhrul district in a recent letter to the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) (Ukhrul) informed them of their decision.

For proper and effective implementation of biodiversity conservation, the village heads also requested the DFO to issue a drone to them, said the letter.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh, who chaired a cabinet meeting in Ukhrul last month, lauded the initiatives taken up by the Shirui village authorities to conserve biodiversity and for the protection of wildlife there.

The Chief Minister took to Facebook and said, “For the first time in Manipur, the people of Shirui village have decided to completely ban the hunting and killing of animals and birds within their jurisdiction. It is a remarkable step towards the conservation of biodiversity and the protection of our precious wildlife.”

“I express my heartfelt appreciation for the outstanding initiative taken by the people of Shirui Village. Such actions set an example for the entire state of Manipur and beyond,” he added.

Meanwhile, forest officials and animal lovers of Zeliangrong Naga dominated Tamenglong district of Manipur geared up to greet and take multi-tasking measures to protect their winged guests, ‘Amur falcons’, while the district administration has put a ban on hunting, catching, killing and selling of the migratory birds besides prohibiting the use of air guns during the raptors’ roosting period.

Wildlife experts said that the migratory birds usually arrive in Manipur, mostly in the state’s Tamenglong district and neighbouring Nagaland and Assam, in winter from their breeding grounds in South Eastern Siberia and Northern China.

After a stopover for a little more than a month, the falcons, locally known in Manipur as ‘Akhuaipuina’, depart and fly towards Southern and Eastern parts of Africa and roost a short time before moving towards their breeding grounds.

These majestic birds, locally known in Nagaland as Molulem, embark on an incredible long-distance journey, traversing up to 22,000 kilometers in a single year, all the way from eastern Asia to South Africa and back during early autumn.

*Except for the heading, this story has not been edited by The and has been published from an Agency feed.