Two years after the villagers of Doyang reserve in Nagaland's remote Wokha district took a pledge to save the Amur falcons, union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar visited the place to enjoy the rare sight of thousands of migratory bird roosting.Javadekar visited Doyang, located over 200 km from Nagaland capital Kohima, on Sunday to enjoy the rare sight and also became the first union minister to visit this remote place in the northeastern state.Expressing his satisfaction over the community campaign to save the Amur falcons, Javadekar further assured to develop the Doyang Lake area in the hill state as an eco-tourism spot for bird-watchers across the world.It may be mentioned here that Amur falcons, which travel one of the longest migration routes of all birds and arrive in the Doyang reservoir in Nagaland's Wokha district every year, were hunted in large numbers by the locals for meat till 2012. A campaign was started to save the migratory birds in 2012 and several villages nearby took pledges last year to protect the birds.
They also imposed strict rules among themselves to penalise anyone who was found hunting these birds -- leading to zero killing of the species last year."The world has recognised Pangti village in Nagaland as the world's Amur falcon capital, as more than one million birds can be seen in just 30 minutes. It is a very rare and exciting sight," Javadekar said, while adding that the central government will soon develop the Doyang area as an eco-tourism spot for bird-watchers across the world.The Amur falcons come to roost every year at Doyang during their flight from Mongolia to South Africa. Two of the falcons -- named Naga and Pangti and which were tagged in 2013 with satellite tracking chips -- have already done two rounds from Mongolia to South Africa via Nagaland and have again returned to Nagaland this year. Weighing just 150 grams, the falcons cover 5,600 kms, flying non-stop in five days from Mongolia, to arrive in Nagaland.
"The conservation of Amur falcon is a great success story for India, as it has happened with peoples' participation. People, who were earlier killing the bird (Amur falcons), are now working for its conservation, thanks to proper motivation, training and mindset changes effected by various wildlife conservation bodies, activists and the Church," Javadekar said and hoped that with proper conservation methods, the birds will be attracted in larger numbers."The central and the state government would jointly take measures to promote infrastructure and eco-tourism in the entire Amur falcon area. This is community conservation, which must be applauded," he said.