As many as 1,41,274 Amul Falcons, locally known as Akhuaipuina in Tamenglong district, Manipur were found during head counting for the first time in the district.
This was revealed by Manipur Wildlife Explorers President Khoyumthem Brajesh Kumar during the 8th Amur Falcon Festival held in Tamenglong district at Tamenglong Higher Secondary School on Saturday.
Organised by Tamenglong Forest Division, government of Manipur, in collaboration with Rainforest Club Tamenglong and Wildlife Trust of India, the festival was held with an aim to educate the public to protect and preserve the migratory bird Amur Falcon, locally known as ‘Akhuaipuina’.
Tamenglong Deputy commissioner L Angshim Dangshawa, ADC Tamenglong chief executive officer Kachamthai Feiga Gangmei and Tamenglong Divisional Forest Officer Amandeep attended as chief guest, guest of honour and president of the function respectively.
Manipur Wildlife Explorers president Khoyumthem Brajesh Kumar also attended and spoke as resource person. Tamenglong sub divisional officer Meidinbui Dichong, wildlife warden Nahemiah Panmei, members of Manipur Wildlife Explorers were among the guests participating in the festival.
It may be mentioned here that the migratory bird ‘Akhuaipuina’ has been arriving and staying at Bhalok, Matung, Puching, Punglam, Duigailong, Chiuluan roosting sides in Chiuluan village at Barak bank and in Puching (Khebuching) village at Irang river bank since the first week of November.
It is also worth noting here that the district magistrate, Tamenglong, has banned hunting and killing of the migratory bird. The district magistrate had also issued prohibitory orders and directed all owners to deposit their air guns at their respective village authority office to surrounding villages of roosting sides. Following the prohibitory order, hunting and killing of the Amul Falcon has tremendously decreased.
In his chief guest speech, Tamenglong Deputy commissioner L Angshim Dangshawa said that we are yet to really celebrate the festival when people are still hunting the migratory bird. Only after attaining total zero killing mortality rate of the Amul Falcon, can we celebrate happily, he added.
We are blessed to have the Akhuaipuina, especially those seven-eight villages where the migratory birds are taking shelter. It’s God’s blessings, he said.
Stating that hunting of the migratory bird is decreasing, he appealed to all the roosting villages to continue to cooperate and support protecting and preserving the migratory bird.
He also said that students should be taught to protect and preserve the migratory birds.
“You are hunting for economic purposes, but you are hunting and killing for fun. So, stop killing at any cost”, he said and stressed the need for one to realise and take responsibility.
Due to law-and-order situation, the Amur Falcon festival could not be organised in a bigger manner, he said, adding that he plans to organise a bigger awareness programme next year when the birds are not here.
In his keynote address, Tamenglong Divisional Forest Officer Amandeep said that in order to protect and preserve the migratory bird a joint team of Forest and Police department have started patrolling the roosting sites along Barak River valley in Chiuluan village every day since 15 October this year.
He said Bhalok, Matung, Puching, Punglam, Duigailong, Chiuluan villages are some of the places where we have stationed local protection team, consisting of Volunteers, for protection of Amur Falcon.
“This year has been very special for them as the challenges of protection and conservation have increased manyfold in light of new developments taking place. This year, the first sighting of the Amur Falcon was reported in the 2nd week of October”, the DFO said.
However, roosting in large flocks started around the 3rd Week of October.
He also appealed to the general public, civil society organizations, clubs, students and everyone to discourage hunting and also to support and coordinate with the forest department for the protection of the Amur Falcon.
“Let all of us make efforts to save the Amur Falcon and provide them safe and secure passage in their journey of a thousand miles to the African continent”, he added.
He also informed that the department is conducting Awareness campaign at different villages by meeting with local volunteers and village authority members.
Adding that awareness campaigns are also being done at the school and college level in association with different institutions like Rain Forest Club Tamenglong, Wildlife Trust of India, Corbett Foundation and Tamenglong Times.
“We have launched a Poster Campaign across Tamenglong district and on the front of vigilance, raids are being conducted regularly in markets”, Amandeep said.
In his speech, ADC Tamenglong CEO Kachamthai Feiga Gangmei said that despite efforts made to protect and preserve the migratory bird Akhuaipuina, nothing will happen until local people change their mindset.
He appealed to all citizens of Tamenglong to come out from their locality to protect and preserve the migratory bird. He said that the local people should take responsibility to protect and preserve.
He also informed that the department has prepared a small information brochure consisting of Local Folklores and General information about the Amur falcon.
Phalong (Bhalok) dance troupe performed a beautiful traditional dance to welcome all the guests and participants of the 8th Amur Falcon Festival 2023 while Puching women society presented a beautiful ‘Akhuaipuina’ dance to enchant the gathering.