At least four Amur Falcon hunters were detained and three airguns seized from their possession during a frisking and fine operation conducted under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, by the district administration Tamenglong with police and the district forest division on Sunday.
Police said the four bird hunters have been identified as one John Gangmei, son of Dibuanang Gangmei of Khangchiulon, Gairan Gangmei, son of Adai of Duigailong village, Meirongdin Gangmei, son of Pingkiu Gangmei of Chiulon village and Pouninglung Gonmei, son of Tanpuining Gonmei of Duigailong.
Despite efforts made by the district administration, the forest division, the Rain Forest Club Tamenglong and like-minded people to preserve and protect wildlife, many reported rampant killing of migratory bird “Amur Falcon” at different roosting sites.
Although the bird meat is not sold in the open market, several people have been reportedly selling dried and roasted amur falcons since last two weeks for Rs 100 per smoked bird.
The Rain Forest Club Tamenglong with the district forest Tamenglong is conducting an awareness programme at different schools in Tamenglong district.
Speaking exclusively to Imphal Free Press, Tamenglong Forest Range Officer Joel Gangmei said that on learning about trampant killing of Amur Falcon at Barak roosting site, police and forest officials took out patrolling toward the Amur Falcon roosting site.
On suspicious movement between Chiulon and Barak River, the patrolling team led by the Tamenglong Forest Range Officer, recovered three airguns, two mobiles and 27 dead amur falcons.
He said the hunters admitted and apologised their crime. They were detained and fined compounding fees under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and later released, he added.
The seizures of airguns will be forfeited for the government, while the dead amur falcons were buried in the presence of officials by the hunters.
RO Joel Gangmei said that the district administration with police and forest department officials are on 24-hour vigil to preserve and protect Amur Falcons who traveled from Siberia to spend winter in Tamenglong district in Manipur. He said volunteers were kept at different roosting site. Official notification was published, awareness programme at village level and school level at district headquarter are going on, he added.
The RO also said that the forest department has deputed one each volunteer at Amur falcon roosting site villages, including Guangram, Matung, Puching, Phalong, Duiga, Chiuluan, Khangchiuluan and Inrianglong. However, some people defied the government orders and continue hunting for small benefits, he added.
Despite all efforts made, some youths are taking advantage of Sunday holiday and they were hunting the birds, he said, adding that stern action will be initiated to those defiling the prohibition notice as per the Wildlife Protection Act.
He appealed to all citizens of Tamenglong to extend cooperation and support to preserve and protect wildlife. Without the community support, police and police department alone cannot preserve and protect the guests of Tamenglong amur falcons.
He also mentioned that if selling of airgun openly in the market is regulated by the state government, it will extend great help to preservation and protection of any wildlife.
Gangmei informed that Amur Falcon festival will be held again in the second week of November after the outbreak of pandemic COVID-19. Scientists will come to attend the amur falcon festival and conduct GEO tagging. The previous GEO tagging was successful. The radio tag gave signal even after two years, he said.
Radio tagged name “Tamenglong” and “Manipur” stop giving signal after few months but radio signals were received from “Chiuluan” “Barak” “Irang” “Phalong” and “Puching” after a year.