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From predators to protectors - the Indian village that turned to conservation

Date: 23-Nov-18
Author: Liam Taylor

The Amur falcon migrates over 22,000 kilometres from Siberia to Africa. Image: Derek Keats/CC © Derek Keats

The Amur falcon migrates over 22,000 kilometres from Siberia to Africa. Image: Derek Keats/CC

In 2012 a small village of 8,000 residents in Nagaland, India became infamous for killing up to 15,000 migratory falcons a day. That’s all changed now.

Today, the Lotha Naga tribespeople of Pangti village host and protect millions of Amur falcons each year as they travel 22,000 kilometers from Siberia to areas of Africa including Somalia, Kenya and South Africa.

It’s believed to be the largest congregation of the exotic bird in the world, but a little over 7 years ago more than 70 groups of people were trapping and slaughtering the birds using fishing nets tied to trees to trap them. These birds would either be consumed as food or sold for as little 25 rupees per bird (less than $0.50).

Recognising the importance of protecting the birds and their potential as a tourist attraction, the Nagaland Government in cooperation with international NGOs began to provide remuneration to those actively engaged in protecting and providing education and awareness of the animal.

Residents quickly got on board as ‘Friends of the Amur Falcon', with the community-led Amur Falcon Roosting Areas Union setting up check posts and carrying out patrols since 2014. Ex-hunters now work as guides, boatmen, homestay owners and drivers for small tourist groups coming to see the birds. Not a single village member hunts the falcons any longer, making this one of the biggest conservation success stories in South Asia.

“I am a much happier man protecting the birds rather than killing them,” a former hunter-turned-conservationist told ABC news.

To celebrate the achievement, an Amur Falcon Conservation Week was held by the Nagaland government for the first time this year.


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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.

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