IMPHAL, Oct 31 - After last year�s incident in which two radio satellite-tagged Amur falcons were lost, experts from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) today started a fresh initiative and released two female Amur falcons after tagging them at Puching, a small hill village in Tamenglong district.
Ramkhuanang Gonmei, chairman of Puching village, and WII scientist Dr Suresh Kumar jointly released the migratory birds in the presence of researchers, Forest officials and villagers after a prayer session in the morning.
According to Forest Department sources, the two radio satellite-tagged Amur falcons have been named �Puching� after Puching village and �Irang� after the Irang river that flows through the district. The birds were caught on October 30.
WII scientist Dr Suresh Kumar told this correspondent that one of the satellite-tagged falcons, �Manipur�, was found dead in Puching village last year. But this year the villagers have woken up to the need of protecting the Amur falcons and their latest conservation efforts deserve appreciation, added Dr Kumar who has been camping in the village along with four other experts since October 22 to radio-tag and study the migratory birds. The Amur falcon tagging programme generates awareness among the common people about the avian species, forests and biodiversity, he maintained.
Two Amur falcons � Tamenglong and Manipur � were radio-tagged on November 4 last year to study their flight route. But Manipur was found dead four days later in the Puching area, while the contact with Tamenglong was lost in Zambia on December 14.
Village chairman Ramkhuanang said that the awareness programme and the ban on air guns in the district have helped the cause of protection of these pigeon-sized migratory birds which arrive in large numbers in the North East, including Manipur, during October. They leave the region in November for their non-stop flight to Africa.
Expressing happiness over the transformation of Puching village into a conservation area for Amur falcons, Range Officer of Tamenglong Forest Division Kh Hitler stated that three more falcons would be released after tagging in the coming days.