Guwahati: A migratory Amur falcon named ‘Manipur’ which was released by scientists four days ago was hunted down Friday by miscreants at Kebuching, which lies between the districts of Tamenglong and Noney, in Manipur.
The Amur falcon, tagged with a satellite transmitter, was one of the two released on November 5 by a group of scientists working on the conservation project of the winged guests. The scientists are trying to understand the movement of the birds during their migratory stop-over in Tamenglong.
Expressing his regret over the unfortunate incident, Forest Minister of Manipur, Thounaojam Shyamkumar, said that the department will not spare those involved in the incident. He further informed that the satellite instrument was handed over to the Forest Department in Noney. Stating that stricter rules and intense awareness campaigns are needed at this moment, the Minister said the cancellation of gun licenses (air guns) will be discussed in the Cabinet meeting soon.
Shyamkumar, while mentioning that the local wildlife, is important for the existence of the whole eco-system appealed to the people of the state and other departments to come forward to help save the migratory bird Amur falcon and also the local wildlife.
It may be mentioned that on November 4, a team of officials led by Dr. Suresh Kumar of Wildlife Institute of India, Forest Department Tamenglong including DFO Arun RS and Peter, Raptor Biologists from Hungary captured five Amur falcons using canopy mist-nets at a community forests area of Chiuluan village along the Barak river in Tamenglong district.
Following an assessment of the body and feather condition, two fittest birds out of five were attached with GPS satellite tags and released in the morning of November 5. The male bird was named ‘Manipur’ while the female was named as ‘Tamenglong’.
The satellite tagging of the two Amur falcons were informed to the villagers of Tamenglong on the day of the ‘4th Amur Falcon Festival’ held at the district. On November 8, Tamenglong District Administration had also issued an order strictly prohibiting the use of air guns along Irang river near Gwangram, Puching, Rangkhung and Taobam villages.
However, despite the efforts, ‘Manipur’ (the male falcon) was killed by miscreants on November 9 and the transmitter was handed over to the department, said Dr. Suresh Kumarm, Senior Scientist at Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. Dr. Suresh Kumar further said that each satellite equipment cost Rs 1.5 lakh and an additional Rs 1 lakh to retrieve the satellite data of the bird’s journey
Informing about the incident, DFO of Tamenglong, Arun RS said a team of Forest Department has rushed to the Irang river area as the surviving female bird ‘Tamenglong’ has been tracked in the nearby location where ‘Manipur’ was killed.