Over seven weeks has passed since the migratory Amur falcons’ arrival in Nagaland and not a single bird has been killed in their roosting site at Doyang Reservoir, reports the Amur Falcon Protection Squad (AFPS) – a group of former hunters, who along with the Nagaland Forest Department staff have been patrolling the falcon roosting areas day and night to ensure they are safe.
This remarkable turnaround - considering tens of thousands of falcons reportedly hunted last year - was brought about through Rapid Action Projects that WTI implemented jointly with the local communities, the Forest Department, and Natural Nagas – a local NGO.
WTI and Natural Nagas have been working with the local communities and the Forest Department since November last year to help save the falcons, starting with the initiative to spread awareness among the local communities on the issue. For months, numerous meetings and consultations were held with the people of Pangti, Ashaa and Sungro - three villages around the Reservoir, where the birds come to roost. These discussions culminated in the village councils signing an agreement declaring hunting of Amur falcons illegal in their jurisdiction and imposing a fine of 5000 rupees for offenders.
The creation of the Amur Falcon Protection Squad subsequently followed to assist the Forest Department and the village councils ensure effective enforcement.
Awareness activities like wildlife film screenings, workshops involving the church, creation of Eco clubs, placing of posters and signage, and meetings with villagers were also carried on in the district. 30 families in Sungro, Pangti and Ashaa were given livelihood support. ‘Grain for Grain’, a community welfare measure to provide relief to farmers affected by crop damage by elephants, was implemented in Wokha district benefiting 99 farming families.
The cumulative result of all these activities has been the complete protection of falcons in this area for this migration season. The next step is to ensure that the roosting habitat is protected and, currently, the sites are being assessed to understand the extent of land used by the falcons during their migration period. This is to ensure that the falcons are protected in Wokha next year as well.
We thank you for supporting this project and helping give the Amur falcons a safe haven on their journey through India.
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