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Nagaland

CM lauds first Amur Falcon education initiative in State

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By EMN Updated: Aug 29, 2013 1:24 am
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EMN
DIMAPUR, AUGUST 28

CHIEF MINISTER Neiphiu Rio has lauded and extended the State government’s full support to the initiative of the Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Trust (NWBCT) and other NGOs to educate the people about migratory birds and to give them safe passage through Nagaland.The NWBCT,launched a comprehensive campaign in Wokha on August 27 to protect the Amur Falcons that migrate through Nagaland every winter. The campaign is in response to the mass killings of Amur Falcon that was recorded last year by the team.
In his message of support, Rio asserted that the State government is committed to end the unfortunate killings of the migratory Amur Falcons in Nagaland while they pass through the State.
“It is our duty to protect the Amur Falcons and, in true Naga tradition of hospitality, treat them as honoured and esteemed guests,” the CM stated.
He also appealed to all the people of Nagaland, particularly the people of Wokha and Mokokchung districts, where the migratory birds take some rest during their long journey, to end the killings of these lovely birds.
“Let us realize that man and other creations are inter-dependent, and we need each other for our long-term survival on this planet earth,” Rio said in his message.
The district administrations as well as the department of Forests, Ecology, Environment and Wildlife have also assured to step up vigilance to prevent any hunting of these birds this season.
The NWBCT campaign will include nature education, creation of Amur Falcon EcoClubs, patrolling and enforcement, as well as scientific study of the birds.
NWBCT, an NGO based in Dimapur, is the principal lead of this campaign, supported by top conservation institutions like Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Birdlife, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Raptor Research and Conservation Foundation (RRCF) and Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT).

Conservation education
The NWBCT kicked-off the comprehensive education initiative covering the areas the falcons visit. This proven and comprehensive programme opens a window into the world of nature education as a tool for conservation.
A “training the trainer” workshop will prepare participants to help educate children in the villages.
The participants selected will have varied backgrounds such as teachers, church workers, NGO activists, interested youth of the village and even hunters willing to reform.
Next will be the formation of EcoClubs in specific villages that will focus on nature and wildlife education, fieldwork, creative arts and photography.
Study of Amur Falcons and its protection will be central to these EcoClubs. A “brand” will be built around the falcon so it becomes a mascot for the community.
The EcoClubs will have Amur posters, stickers, badges and a highly educative “Amur Falcon Passport” for kids to record details of the falcons migrating through their village.

Mass killings
Every October, huge numbers of Amur Falcons (Scientific name: Falco amurensis) arrive in northeast India from Siberia en route to South Africa. This little bird of prey has one of the longest migration routes of all birds, doing up to 22,000 km in a year.
In addition to the distance covered, the birds are unusual in that they migrate a large distance over the sea and also continue their journey at night.
Last October, the NWBCT team documented the shocking massacre of tens of thousands of these migratory falcons in Wokha district of Nagaland in India’s northeast.
The migrating falcons descend to forested patches along the banks of the Doyang reservoir (30km from Wokha town) to roost. Here, hunters set up huge fishing nets (30-40m long, 10-12m tall) where the birds get caught in large numbers. Doyang reservoir in Wokha district probably hosts the single largest congregation of Amur falcons recorded anywhere in the world and it is tragic that they are mercilessly targeted by hunters here.
These findings were published in Conservation India (http://www.conservationindia.org/campaigns/amurmassacre) that resulted in national and international outcry. It is important to note that India, as a signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), is duty bound to prevent this massacre, provide safe passage, as well as draw up action plans for the long-term conservation of this bird.
For more details on the Friends of the Amur Falcon campaign, one may contact Bano Haralu at planetbano@gmail.com (+91-98560-32227) and Ramki Sreenivasan at ramki@wildventures.com (+91-98450-66677)

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By EMN Updated: Aug 29, 2013 1:24:00 am