The first population estimation survey of Amur falcons in Manipur's conflict-ridden Tamenglong’s Chiuluan village has been completed, revealing an approximate count of 1,41,274 migratory birds currently roosting there. The survey was conducted by 11 members of Wildlife Explorers Manipur (WEM), an animal lovers’ group in the state, using drones, Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, and telephoto cameras.
The census took place at one of the six roosting sites in the Zeliangrong-Naga dominated district. The other five roosting sites are Bhalok, Matung, Puching, Punglam, and Duigailong, per forest officials. The Rainforest Club Tamenglong (RCT) volunteers and Divisional Forest Office staff supported the census. WEM president Khoyumthem Brajesh Kumar announced the findings at the 8th Amur Falcon festival.
He stated that the objective of the survey was to estimate the number of birds roosting in Chiuluan village as a pilot project for a comprehensive census of the Amur falcon population in the district in the future.
Amur falcons, known locally as Akhoipuina or Kahoipuina in the Rongmei dialect, have once again arrived in Manipur, predominantly in Tamenglong and adjacent Nagaland, from their breeding locations in South Eastern Siberia and Northern China.
The birds typically roost for a month before continuing their journey towards the Southern and Eastern regions of Africa. Wildlife experts say they will briefly flock there before returning to their breeding grounds. Amandeep, the Divisional forest officer of Tamenglong, has expressed plans to conduct similar population surveys at other roosting sites in the district next year, following the success of this year's survey.
Additionally, there are plans to tag two Amur falcons next year with the assistance of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to gain further insight into their migratory pattern. Angshim Dangshawa, Deputy Commissioner of Tamenglong, emphasized the importance of increased awareness programs at the Amur falcon festival to ensure the district's residents unite to protect and conserve the Amur falcons during their migratory stay in Tamenglong.
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