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Increasing nesting among Dadara adjutant stork

By SIVASISH THAKUR

DADARA, Jan 10 � In what is an encouraging news for conservationists, the greater adjutant stork population at Dadara on the city outskirts has witnessed a noticeable increase in nesting.

The nondescript Dadara shot into global fame for its successful community conservation saga that has secured a safe shelter for the endangered bird in the trees grown in the backyards of the local inhabitants.

Purnima Devi Barman of Aaranyak, who has been working closely with the local populace, terms the developments as heartening that can, apart from ensuring long-term survival of the bird, be replicated in other known greater adjutant stork habitats.

�There has been an increasing nesting trend in many of the trees. This is largely due to the commitment and involvement of the local residents who are taking pains to provide a safe home to the birds in their backyards,� she said.

According to a survey conducted last month, three villages in Dadara area, i.e., Dadara, Pasariya and Singimari, have a total of 128 nests sheltering a population of over 300 birds. Some of the tree-owners are Hemanta Kalita who has two kadam trees with ten nests, Dulal Das and Ghanshyam Das who have one kadam tree with ten nests, Bapuram Das who has three trees with 18 nests, and Jadav Das who own two trees with 13 nests.

Subodh Saikia, an elderly person and tree-owner, attributes the success of the community efforts to enhanced awareness levels of the villagers and the consequent protection accorded to the trees used by the birds for shelter and nesting.

�The villagers, with Aaranyak�s help, got about the all-important job of securing the depleting habitat of the bird, including nesting trees. The results are showing but the efforts need to be sustained,� Saikia said.

While the greater adjutant stork has become the cynosure of all eyes in the village, conservation of its habitat has also helped many other birds and lesser animals find a secure home in the backyards of many of the villagers that resemble small patches of forests. Creatures like jackal, civet, jungle cat, etc., besides a variety of birdlife can be seen in the wooded backyards.

Even as nesting has improved, there have been a few accidental deaths of new-born from accidental falls from nests that are perched atop tall trees such as kadam, simalu, etc. To reduce the incidence of such fatalities, the villagers have now put up nets below the nesting trees.

�We need to take every possible care to prevent such unwarranted fatalities in view of the overall small population of the greater adjutant stork. Following a few accidental deaths of newborns, we have put up nets below the nesting trees as a preventive measure,� Purnima said.

The woman-folk of Dadara have been actively associated with the conservation efforts. �As most of us stay at home for the greater part of the day compared to the men, we get more time to monitor the birds in our backyards,� Charu Das, Anju Das, Juri Pathak and Madhuri Pathak, all of whom have nesting trees in their campuses, said.

Paresh Das, principal of Sankardev Shishu Niketan, Dadara, feels that the bird�s long-term survival prospects have brightened with enhanced awareness among the children and students. �It is for the young generation to carry forward Dadara�s legacy. Just as Kaziranga is famed for the rhino, Dadara can well win global recognition for the greater adjutant stork,� Das said.

According to Purnima, the villagers now understand the importance of the greater adjutant stork bird species to the ecology. �They have started taking pride in that Dadara is one of the few places on the earth where this important variety of stork is found and that puts their area in the global map of distribution of the adjutant stork,� she says.

Local weavers have put the adjutant stork as a motif in the gamosa, the widely-used multi-purpose traditional Assamese towel. The new-look gamosas have been an instant hit in the market, spreading at the same time the message of conservation.

Rarest among the 20 stork species found on the planet, the global population of the greater adjutant stork is estimated around 800. Significantly, 80 per cent of its global population find a shelter in the Brahmaputra Valley, with Kamrup district alone accounting for half its number in the State.

The greater adjutant stork (commonly called hargila in Assam) is an important scavenging bird species that keeps the environment clean besides regulating the population of vertebrates like frogs, fishes, snails, etc., found in wetlands.

Though the bird species is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act-1972 in the country, its habitats (nesting colonies) do not get the same sanctity under the provisions of the Act. As these storks often build their nesting colonies on trees grown on private land, the threat to their existence becomes greater, and conservation efforts will remain a far cry without active cooperation from the communities.

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Increasing nesting among Dadara adjutant stork

DADARA, Jan 10 � In what is an encouraging news for conservationists, the greater adjutant stork population at Dadara on the city outskirts has witnessed a noticeable increase in nesting.

The nondescript Dadara shot into global fame for its successful community conservation saga that has secured a safe shelter for the endangered bird in the trees grown in the backyards of the local inhabitants.

Purnima Devi Barman of Aaranyak, who has been working closely with the local populace, terms the developments as heartening that can, apart from ensuring long-term survival of the bird, be replicated in other known greater adjutant stork habitats.

�There has been an increasing nesting trend in many of the trees. This is largely due to the commitment and involvement of the local residents who are taking pains to provide a safe home to the birds in their backyards,� she said.

According to a survey conducted last month, three villages in Dadara area, i.e., Dadara, Pasariya and Singimari, have a total of 128 nests sheltering a population of over 300 birds. Some of the tree-owners are Hemanta Kalita who has two kadam trees with ten nests, Dulal Das and Ghanshyam Das who have one kadam tree with ten nests, Bapuram Das who has three trees with 18 nests, and Jadav Das who own two trees with 13 nests.

Subodh Saikia, an elderly person and tree-owner, attributes the success of the community efforts to enhanced awareness levels of the villagers and the consequent protection accorded to the trees used by the birds for shelter and nesting.

�The villagers, with Aaranyak�s help, got about the all-important job of securing the depleting habitat of the bird, including nesting trees. The results are showing but the efforts need to be sustained,� Saikia said.

While the greater adjutant stork has become the cynosure of all eyes in the village, conservation of its habitat has also helped many other birds and lesser animals find a secure home in the backyards of many of the villagers that resemble small patches of forests. Creatures like jackal, civet, jungle cat, etc., besides a variety of birdlife can be seen in the wooded backyards.

Even as nesting has improved, there have been a few accidental deaths of new-born from accidental falls from nests that are perched atop tall trees such as kadam, simalu, etc. To reduce the incidence of such fatalities, the villagers have now put up nets below the nesting trees.

�We need to take every possible care to prevent such unwarranted fatalities in view of the overall small population of the greater adjutant stork. Following a few accidental deaths of newborns, we have put up nets below the nesting trees as a preventive measure,� Purnima said.

The woman-folk of Dadara have been actively associated with the conservation efforts. �As most of us stay at home for the greater part of the day compared to the men, we get more time to monitor the birds in our backyards,� Charu Das, Anju Das, Juri Pathak and Madhuri Pathak, all of whom have nesting trees in their campuses, said.

Paresh Das, principal of Sankardev Shishu Niketan, Dadara, feels that the bird�s long-term survival prospects have brightened with enhanced awareness among the children and students. �It is for the young generation to carry forward Dadara�s legacy. Just as Kaziranga is famed for the rhino, Dadara can well win global recognition for the greater adjutant stork,� Das said.

According to Purnima, the villagers now understand the importance of the greater adjutant stork bird species to the ecology. �They have started taking pride in that Dadara is one of the few places on the earth where this important variety of stork is found and that puts their area in the global map of distribution of the adjutant stork,� she says.

Local weavers have put the adjutant stork as a motif in the gamosa, the widely-used multi-purpose traditional Assamese towel. The new-look gamosas have been an instant hit in the market, spreading at the same time the message of conservation.

Rarest among the 20 stork species found on the planet, the global population of the greater adjutant stork is estimated around 800. Significantly, 80 per cent of its global population find a shelter in the Brahmaputra Valley, with Kamrup district alone accounting for half its number in the State.

The greater adjutant stork (commonly called hargila in Assam) is an important scavenging bird species that keeps the environment clean besides regulating the population of vertebrates like frogs, fishes, snails, etc., found in wetlands.

Though the bird species is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act-1972 in the country, its habitats (nesting colonies) do not get the same sanctity under the provisions of the Act. As these storks often build their nesting colonies on trees grown on private land, the threat to their existence becomes greater, and conservation efforts will remain a far cry without active cooperation from the communities.

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