Nagaland CCF WL contradicts number of Amur falcon killings
DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 30
CONTRADICTING the news report carried out in a local daily on October 30 under the heading ‘The flight of the Amur Falcon’, the State Wildlife department has clarified that the massacred number of Amur Falcon in 2012 has been exaggerated and far from true. Addressing a press conference on Wednesday evening at his office chamber, the CCF WL, Nagaland, T. Lotha has rubbished the massacre figures of the migratory bird as not in line with the correct facts and that it has shocked everybody.
According to the CCF Wildlife , he said the number of Amur Falcons killed last year in Wokha district could figure around 30,000. Where as, the report given by ‘The Wall Street Journal Magazine’, said the number crossed the 1 lakh figure. The Magazine also reported that the number of Amur Falcons killed in a single day estimated to be around 10,000 to 14,000. This migratory bird spends over 10 days in Nagaland, en route their winter migration from Russia to the southern part of Africa.
“The figure was highly exaggerated. A false report such as this tarnishes the image of the State government and particularly the Forest department before the country and the world as our country India is one of the signatory to ‘Convention on migratory species’,” Lotha said adding that the concerned department is trying its best to prevent the killing of these migratory birds when they are in Nagaland.
The Chief Wildlife Warden has also hit out at Ramki Sreenivasan, wildlife photographer and Shashank Dalvi, research associate at the Centre for Wildlife Studies, whom he said were responsible for the false report.
As per the report, a team comprising Ramki Sreenivasan, Shashank Dalvi and members of Nagaland Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation Trust (NWBCT) visited Doyang last year in October to witness first-hand the massacre of Amur Falcons on the banks of the Doyang reservoir. The team was said to have visited the place to ascertain information on large scale hunting of Amur Falcons in this remote region.
“They may have a concern for Amur Falcon and that I appreciate. But they don’t have concern for the image of the Naga people and that I abhor,” Lotha said. He further questioned that “how could the team come out with such estimated figures within its three-day visit.”
“I would have appreciated if they had cross-checked with the Forest department before bringing out the figures, but they have never consulted us. They even didn’t visit our office and what they are doing is unknown to us,” Lotha maintained.
“We appreciate the efforts rendered by the Wildlife Trust of India and State NGOs including Natural Nagas based in Wokha and NWBCT, in the endeavour to preserve these migratory birds when they are in Nagaland. Along with these organisations, we have accomplished the task in sensitizing, educating and carrying out awareness programmes on the importance of these migratory birds to our ecosystem,” Lotha said adding that the concerned department had carried out its campaign from village to village, church to church and school to school.
With the NGOs being the ‘ears and eyes’ of the government, Lotha also requested them to focus on the positive outcome in its initiative towards making Nagaland a safe haven for the migratory birds. He added that the State government and the concerned department are equally serious to give all logistic support in realizing this goal. To this end, he also informed that a protection force has been deployed at the Doyang reservoir for the month of October and November.
On the grievances raised by the villagers in Wokha district, Lotha asked them not to be impatient citing reasons that the State government has a working modality and is busy drawing the action plans.
“The department is contemplating on livelihood intervention, but one thing the villagers should keep in mind is that they are asking for livelihood when these birds are here in Nagaland for 45 days at the most. And this is just too demanding,” he said. He also urged the villagers to capitalize the migration of Amur Falcon for their economic benefits.
The Chief Wildlife Warden further informed that four scientists from UK, Hungary and WII would be visiting the Doyang reservoir in early part of November this year for satellite tracking of these migratory birds. During their visit, the scientists will put satellite transmitters on five birds to trace them later.
The team is slated to reach Nagaland on November 3 and will depart on November 9, he informed.
What has not been addressed however is the fact that the killing of the Amur falcons has been on in the area for years. It is only after the so called ‘exaggerated’ massacre which has awakened the state forest department and international consciousness on the fate of the Amur falcons in Nagaland.