In 2012 Nagaland, a small State in NE India made global environment news for the wrong reasons. A hard-hitting campaign by Indian conservationists published graphic video images to expose a mass harvest of Amur Falcons – a small but long distant migrant bird of prey that breeds in Eastern Russia and China, and annually flies around 22,000km all the way across Asia, over the Indian Ocean to wintering grounds in Southern Africa.
Following the revelations last autumn, India acted swiftly and introduced a wide range of measures to implement and enforce pre-existing legislation to protect the Amur Falcons. An armed Forest Protection Force was immediately deployed that seized nets and released any captured live falcons that were found. This year the Force has been patrolling the roost areas every day since the falcons arrived three weeks ago. The Nagaland Forest Department, supported by NGOs has led an awareness-raising campaign holding meetings with community and religious leaders, as well as open public meetings. Eco-clubs under the Forest Department’s flagship programme ‘National Green Corps’ were given specific scientific input through presentations, movie screenings and story-telling. With young people in mind, a ‘Save the Amur Falcon Marathon’ was organized for villagers on 19 October 2013 using a route around the main areas where the falcon trapping had taken place. The outcome has been a spectacular with the falcon harvest being completely halted this season.
The six-person specialist team went to Nagaland as part of a joint initiative to capture and tag three falcons with satellite transmitters. Hosted by Nagaland Forest Department, ornithologists from the Wildlife Institute of India, MME/BirdLife Hungary and the Raptors MOU planned their visit to Nagaland to coincide with the annual arrival of Amur Falcons in the State. The falcons spend about one month there every autumn where they feast on insects to gain fitness for their immense onward journey to Africa.
The project aims to provide new insights into the ecology of the Amur Falcon, particularly during its short stay in Nagaland and subsequent traverse across India. It should also provide the Nagalese people with knowledge about the origins of their annual falcon visitors.
a) To better understand the behaviour and ecology of the Amur Falcon during its presence in Nagaland, along the migration route and in the wintering areas in Africa b) To support conservation efforts to reduce and ultimately eradicate the harvesting of Amur Falcons in northeast India by raising awareness of the international importance of the species, particularly amongst local communities in Nagaland.
|Provision of three 5g Argos satellite tags including data transmission and management for 1 year
|01 November 2013
|31 October 2014
|Supply of three 5g Argos satellite tags and associated data capture management
|Two experts participate in a one week joint technical mission to Nagaland, India to trap and fit the tags to three Amur Falcons
|03 November 2013
|09 November 2013
|Safe and effective capture and fitment of satellite tags to 3 Amur Falcons
|Manage, analyze and share the data gathered from the satellite tags and regularly upload these results to an online platform publicly available
|01 November 2013
|31 October 2014
|Data received from Argos analysed, shared and uploaded to an online platform publicly available, commencing within 2 weeks of the tags being fitted; - Data regularly updated on the online platform for an initial period of 12 months
|The Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society (MME/BirdLife Hungary)
|Nagaland Forest Department Wildlife Institute of India
|Activity start date
|Activity end date
|Final technical report