Saga of Nagaland’s radio-tagged Amur falcon ends after record-breaking journey
Dimapur, May 12 (EMN): The enduring saga of Nagaland’s radio-tagged Amur falcon ‘Longleng’ has ended after four years of providing new insights into the ecology of the majestic raptors, particularly during its short stay in the state and subsequent traverse across India.
Even though Longleng transmitted its last signal from Hariatu Sumu area in inner Mongolia in the month of September-October last year, it still holds the “world record” of providing nearly 10200 data of locations and clocking 1,50,000 km approximately in the close to four years of tracking, Dr. Suresh Kumar, a scientist at Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, told Eastern Mirror.
He added that the total number of days tracked was 1331 since radio-tagging was done on Longleng in early November 2016.
The female Amur falcon named Longleng was fitted with a satellite tag along with Hakhizhe, Intanki, Eninum, and Phom on November 3, 2016 but the latter four stopped transmitting signal in the following years, making it the lone migratory bird from the state to be radio-tagged till last year.
With Longleng, which weighed 185 gram, had a wing span of 242 mm and 136 mm stretch of central tail feather, having stopped transmitting signal, Nagaland has lost its last radio-tagged Amur falcon.
When asked if there is any plan to radio-tag Amur falcons from Nagaland again, Kumar said that at least 10 more raptors have been proposed to be tagged from Nagaland and Manipur.
It may be recalled that radio-tagging of Amur falcons began in Nagaland in 2013 after three raptors named Naga, Pangti and Wokha were fitted with satellite transmitters and released in order to monitor their movement for their conservation.
The male Amur falcon, Naga, which was the heaviest among the birds caught for radio-tagging at 179 grams, sent its last data signal on November 26, 2016 at Arabia Sea near Somalia and provided around 8482 locations.
The second female Amur falcon named Pangti, which had the longest wing length of 245 mm among all the trapped migratory birds and regarded as a real giant compared to the red-footed falcons, provided around 8507 data locations in the close to three years of tracking.
The last transmission of radio signal from Pangti was registered in the month of November 26, 2016 at Zimbabwe near North Gonarezhou National Park.
The third satellite radio-tagged female Amur falcon named Wokha had the shortest life span in terms of transmission of signal as it lasted only for nearly four months, providing around 1880 locations.
Wokha was radio-tagged on November 7 in 2013 and its last signal was transmitted from South Africa near Harrismith on March 3, 2014.
The Amur falcons migrate from breeding grounds in eastern Asia to wintering grounds in southern Africa and roost in Nagaland every year in the month of October to fuel up for their big open-water crossing, to feast on a seasonal eruption of trillions of termites from their underground colonies before starting off on their journey to the warmer climates of South Africa.