GUWAHATI: The Greater Adjutant Stork, locally called ’Hargila’ is one of the world’s most endangered species. Sadly enough, it is fast losing its habitat in Guwahati deemed as its exotic location. The latest count by city-based NGO ‘Early Birds’ on Wednesday showed that there were only 226 greater adjutant stork population left in the city. Although only 220 birds were recorded last year, the growth status of the species was not encouraging here. Besides, fewer birds are roosting in the city areas. In reality, the population of the Greater Adjutant Stork has been dwindling across the State.
To coincide with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the ‘Swachh Bharat’ cleanliness drive, the Early Birds decided to carry out a census of this endangered bird also known as a ‘carrion eater’ on October 2 at all the roosting places throughout the State.
During the census, 25 Greater Adjutant Storks were found in the Sibsagar Dichial area by Ritu Baruah; 22 in Nagaon by Chandan Baruah; five at Puthimari by Suneswar while none was found in the Patbaushi area of Barpeta by Kuntal Kalita. It is rather tragic that the Barpeta area, a rich roosting location of this species once upon a time, has not been shown a single count during the last six to seven years.
Rapid dwindling of the Hargila is due to the fast urbanization of the rural areas which has witnessed felling of mature trees like simalu, satian and kadam among others. As a consequence, this poor species is forced to withdraw from such places. It also adversely affects their breeding; besides their siblings suffer due to the non-availability of food. Patbaushi in Barpeta is witness to this tragedy. Of late there has been forceful occupation of the stork’s nesting and roosting places by people of doubtful origin from the neighboring areas.
Significantly within the State, only Dodora — on the road to Hajo — has witnessed encouraging results owing to the passionate work by Purnima Barman. However, the areas adjacent to that village are gradually losing the species’ bastion due to the felling of trees in many private compounds. Nagaon town has also lost its original sites at Haibargaon and the areas near the All India Radio (AIR) station in Nagaon town, stated a release.
Interestingly, the Early Bird team came to know that the dumping ground at Boragaon where saplings of various tree species were planted by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) some 10 years back, has become a night shelter place for the Greater Adjutant Storks. Sadly enough, two of them died in lightning recently. Moreover during the last one year, open electricity lines on the route to the dumping ground also led to the death of three more due to electrocution. This has been confirmed by many shopkeepers and labourers who work in that area.
The Early Bird members who participated in the census at six places across Guwahati were Moloy Baruah – the president of Early Birds, Debananda Baruah, Moni Padma Barthakur Verma, Gautam Choudhury, MI Borboruah, Rupak Ranjan Das, Amiya Das, Sheikh Noor Zaman and Manoroma Das. The highest number of 287 Greater Adjutant Storks was recorded in 2002 whereas the lowest number of 127 was in 2011.