JORHAT, Aug 22 - In an encouraging development in the realm of wildlife conservation, two bird lovers with their own financial resources along with support from their friends have come forward to save hatchlings of Asian open bill stork from falling to the ground from a few trees where the birds are nesting beside the KK Baruah Road here.
A large net below the trees has been put up by the bird lovers. Asian open bill stork is a large resident wading bird found in the north-eastern region. They generally build nests on tall trees during the breeding season.
Firoz Hussain and Devajyoti Bora, both avid bird watchers of the region, have pooled financial resources and contributions from their friends, and arranged the nets. After approaching the Forest and Police departments, they managed to get barricades placed in the area to prevent people and vehicles pass through the netted area.
Hussain told The Assam Tribune today that he and Bora came to know from local residents that a large number of birds were building nests on three tress, which were not very tall, since over a month back. Incidentally, during the past few days, several hatchlings had fallen to the ground below and perished.
He said that he and Bora went to the spot and identified the specie as the Asian open bill stork, and the colony of birds was estimated to be over 200-strong.
Hussain said due to the large concentration of birds on the tress which were not so big in size, there may have been space constraint, which perhaps led to falling out of the hatchlings.
He said they approached the local Forest Department authorities regarding the matter and were reportedly told that the department would look into the issue and try to do whatever needed to be done to protect the hatchlings.
Hussain said as it was the annual breeding season of the birds, and that in another 15 to 20 days the birds may leave the trees once the hatchlings can fly, so he and Bora decided to do something to save the hatchlings.
�After a discussion with a few veterinary doctors and bird watchers, we decided to procure a net to be placed at about six feet height from the ground, so as to have a cushioning effect on the hatchlings when they fall down from the tress,� Hussain said.
He said that a net covering 900 square metres was subsequently put up and till yesterday, three hatchlings which fell over the net were rescued and handed over to Naturalist for Rehabilitation of Snakes and Birds, an NGO having a rescue centre at Bosagaon near Kaziranga National Park.
The hatchlings will later be released into the forest once they are able to fly, Hussain said. He added that if any person comes forward to contribute, then another net will also be put up soon in order to cover the entire breeding area.
Divisional Forest Officer (Jorhat) Sapan Saikia, while welcoming the initiative, told this Correspondent that the forest staff too were keeping a close watch over the area.