The 8th Asian Raptor Research & Conservation Network Symposium (International Raptor Conference) was held in India this year at Pune, Maharashtra, from February 6 to 9, 2014. The Nagaland Forest Department was represented by Lokeswara Rao, PCCF & HOFF; Bhaskar Hemant Kamdi, Wildlife Warden, Kiphire Wildlife Division; and Zuthunglo Patton, Divisional Forest Officer, Doyang Plantation Division.
A press release from Zuthunglo Patton informed that there were two presentations from Nagaland. The first presentation on the topic “Conservation of Amur Falcon in Nagaland – The Falcon Capital of the World” was about the unfortunate scenario in the past and the scenario at present of the successful conservation of the Amur Falcon by the Forest Department together with the local community and NGOs. The presentation by the Nagaland representatives highlighted the special status of Nagaland as accorded by the Indian Constitution; about the tribes and their culture and tradition and the socio-economic conditions of the Nagas so as to facilitate an understanding from the people as to why mass harvest of the falcons happened then.
It also underlined the massive contribution of the villagers of Pangti, Ashaa and Sungro towards the conservation of the species by co-operating immensely well with the Forest Department and the NGOs working there. The need to find suitable alternate livelihood options for these people so they would continue to refrain from hunting the birds was also stressed upon. These efforts were received well by the participants who specifically stated that people live far away and without knowing about the ground reality, find it very easy to condemn, referring to the severe criticism of the Nagas in the year 2012 by the global community for the mass harvest of the Amur falcons, the note stated.
The second presentation was on the topic “Satellite Tracking the Autumnal Migration of the Amur Falcon Falco amurensis from Nagaland, India, to Africa” by Ramani Suresh Kumar, Department of Endangered Species Management, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.
Owing to the seriousness of the issue, the release said, it was decided in the final meeting that a resolution to “Recognise threats to Amur falcons and other migratory birds during migration to India and safeguard their stopover sites” would also be included in the list of resolutions which would be submitted to the Government of India as outcomes of the 8th ARRCN.
The note expressed that Nagaland will receive many visitors this season from all over the world as a result of its success story about the safe passage provided to the Amur falcons by the locals. So far, accolades have been received from reputed organizations like the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), it added.