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Yaral Pat wetland in Manipur attracting migratory birds

By Sobhapati Samom

YARAL PAT (MANIPUR), Dec 28 - Yaral Pat, a popular wetland in Manipur�s Imphal East district, is attracting migratory birds, mostly waterfowls (Nganu) after the development of the waterbody in the recent past.

It was once converted into paddyfields even though it was an important breeding ground of flora particularly the endangered indigenous flower � Kombirei (Manipuri Iris).

The arrival of the migratory waterfowls at Yaral Pat, surrounded by Chingkhei hill range on three directions and located about 7-8 km from Imphal, was spotted on Sunday.

The waterbodies were developed for pisciculture since 2009 by the farmers from nearby Top, Moirang Kampu and Khurai Ningthoubung villages as their paddyfields were declining in output.

�It took more than three winters to develop this water body,� said Y Binodkumar, Secretary of Kombirei Environmental Development Organisation (KEDO). He added, �Now we earn our livelihood from fish farming. We are planning to take up irrigation and eco-tourism activities in the near future.�

With the development of the lake at Yaral Pat, a large number of migratory birds, mostly waterfowls like Whistling Duck or Lesser Whistling Teal, Gadwall, Coots, etc., have started coming here from October to early November since the last three/four years.

Thousands of migratory birds from the Arctic region including Siberia, China, Mongolia and other Asian countries visit Manipur�s wetlands including Loktak, Pumlen, Ekop and Tangjeng during winter.

Interestingly, Gadwall (Anas strepera) or Thoidingnum in Manipuri, which breeds in northern Europe and Asia besides North America visits Manipur in groups during the cold season when their habitat becomes frozen, has become the largest group of migratory waterbirds visiting Loktak lake and its associated wetlands here in the last few years, according to a report on species diversity and population of waterbirds in Loktak Ramsar.

�Some of them (birds) even take shelter in nearby Chingkhei hill range,� said N Raghumani, President of KEDO. Members of local clubs such as Eastern Sporting Association, Youth Development Committee and United Friendship Organisation are also associating with KEDO in protecting the migratory birds and other wild animals in the Chingkhei hill range.

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