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Amur Falcons being hunted in Manipur
Sobhapati Samom
 IMPHAL, Nov 2 – Even though Nagaland has taken up steps to stop the killing of Amur Falcon birds during the Winter, the migratory birds continue to be killed in Manipur’s Tamenglong district bordering Cachar and Haflong area in Assam, reports said.

Amur Falcons have started coming to Tamenglong and its contiguous areas including Assam and Nagaland since the past one week. These birds are being targeted in thousands by hunters at Tamenglong district particularly in the Barak Range. “In the olden days catapults were the means of killing them. But with the advent of air guns, the number of kill have increased exponentially,” says an environmentalist from Tamenglong town on phone. Though Nagaland has put in place some form of prohibition and warning against the killing of these birds, Manipur has done virtually nothing in this regard, he informed.

Amur Falcons come from eastern Siberia near the North East China area. On their way of migration to East Africa, they rest for sometime in the Northeastern States of Nagaland, Manipur and parts of Assam.

According to sources in Tamenglong, the birds sojourn in the area for at least a month till November before flying over the Central Indian plain and Arabian Sea to finally reaching the Eastern African countries.

The birds help control the insect population by eating the winged termite and other insects during their stay in Tamenglong, the environmentalist said. There is no authority or organisation that is concerned about these birds that are being hunted for their meat. Last year, the market value of this bird was about Rs 50 for a live one. The killed and dried ones are also sold.

Some hunters have stopped hunting the birds this year following the intervention of some wildlife-loving individuals and others, a resident of Tamenglong said.

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