IMPHAL, May 5 - Longleng, a satellite-tagged female Amur falcon which flew non-stop for five days to reach Somalia in November last year, has returned to India and flying towards NE India on the way to her breeding area in northern China and eastern Mongolia, a Wildlife Institute of India (WII) Scientist R Suresh Kumar said.
Longleng, named after Nagaland�s district, was radio-tagged in October 2016, and arrived in India (at Gadchiroli forest reserve in eastern Maharashtra) covering around 4,800 km on May 2 last, after she started her return journey from Somalia on April 29 with a flying speed of 45 km per hour, WII Scientist Kumar told The Assam Tribune.
Usually this small raptor weighing round 175 grams fly down to southern Karnataka during its previous migratory route and head back along the east coast to NorthEast India, Kumar, who is monitoring the migratory bird said.
�But, interestingly this time, Longleng headed from Maharashtra almost straight to southern Odisha possibly waiting the cyclone Fani to pass,� Kumar said. �Longleng�s arrival in India now marks the 6th successful crossing of the Arabian Sea and is expected to arrive in Nagaland once again.�
The bird which was radio-tagged to study the migration route of these long-distance migratory birds and environmental patterns to create more awareness among the local population, has reached Meghalaya-Bangladesh border in the afternoon of May 4.
On the successful arrival of Longleng, the scientist has lauded the entire community under Yaongyimchen, Alayong and Sanglu in Nagaland for their commitment in creating community-biodiversity area and giving asylum to Amur falcons and other species.
Expressing happiness over the �safe return� of the bird, Honorary Wildlife Warden Nehemiah Pamei of Tamenglong district (Manipur) said, �This year we should make every effort to satellite tag more Amur Falcons even as the efforts made last year have had a great impact in awareness building regarding conservation of these amazing trans-contitental birds.�
On November 4 last year, two falcons � Tamenglong (female) and Manipur (male), were also tagged in Tamenglong district. But unfotunately Manipur was found dead after four days in the district while Tamenglong has lost contact after reaching Zambia.
The Amur falcons which spend their summers at their breeding grounds in China, migrate to their wintering grounds in South Africa, from where they start their return journey in April-May, undertaking a yearly journey of about 20,000 km. In between, they stop in India�s NE States.
In older days, according to experts, Tamenglong people never killed Amur Falcons as the bird controls the pests in the agricultural fields.