IMPHAL, Oct 11 - A village in Manipur’s Tamenglong, which has the largest dense forest cover area among all the nine districts, has been declared as ‘Amur Falcon Village’, considering the commendable conservation activities of the villagers in the recent past.
The village, Phalong – also known as Bhalok, is located around 6 km on the eastern side of the Tamenglong district headquarters.
“The credit will have to go to the villagers because they are the ones who take up necessary efforts to protect the birds in the ground. Of course there are interventions from the department,” says State Chief Wildlife Warden K Angami. “Our department is also planning to assist in holding the Amur Falcon Dance Festival.”
Amur Falcon is a small migratory raptor bird which visits Tamenglong in large numbers as part of their annual North to South to North migratory trip covering a distance of about 22,000 km during winters in search of food and adaptable habitation since time immemorial. Also known as Akhoipuina or Ahoipuina in Rongmei dialect, this pigeon-size eagle migrates from Siberia and Northern China to Wokha (Nagaland) and then Tamenglong (Manipur) before flying back to their original habitat after touching Central and western India and South Africa.
In the past, the birds were seen by villagers in Tamenglong as messengers of god of good harvest and they never tried to hunt them, according to the elders. But later, the birds were hunted in large numbers and sold in the markets.
Considering the importance of the migratory birds in agro-forestry activities of the village following sustained intervention by the forest officials and nature lovers of Tamenglong, the Bhalok villagers joined the campaign to conserve the Amur Falcon which is protected under Wild life Protection Act, 1972 and is included in the Schedule-IV of the Act.
Meanwhile, hectic preparations are on for the first ever Amur Falcon Dance Festival which is scheduled to be held in the district on October 21. It is proposed to be an annual event. Besides seminars with experts, a number of programmes, including dance shows to propagate conservation activities will be held during the festival, according to DFO Huri Golmei of Tamenglong district.
Pangti, a village in Nagaland, had also drawn global attention by protecting thousands of Amur Falcons.