Case Study: PANGTI VILLAGE COMMUNITY & FOREST DEPARTMENT OF NAGALAND
The Pangti Village Community and Forest Department of Nagaland played a major role in the conservation of the Amur Falcon (Falcoamurensis) after the bird had come in news due to rampant and excessive poaching and hunting in Nagaland, during its migratory passing from the North-eastern state of India. The village council consists of villagers oriented towards wildlife conservation in Nagaland. The Village Community, along with the forest department of Nagaland and local NGOs were involved in the planning, implementation, monitoring and assessment outreach activities on the importance of saving the Amur Falcons from being poached and hunted rampantlyThe Pangti Village with the neighboring villages Sunfro and Ashaa, all of which are important villages in terms of the falcon’s migratory path geographically, were crucial in making the ban in hunting of the Amur Falcon successful in Nagaland. The Pangti Council was involved in the distribution of literature, posters, bookmarks, hoardings to generate widespread awareness about Amur Falcon. Flexi banners depic ting slogans for Amur conservation and about the punitive measures as well were put up in public places. The Nagaland Forest Department also made use of local and national media, to publicize the mass hunting of amur falcons as well as to increase awareness regarding the falcon. Balipara Foundation awarded the Pangti Village Community and the Forest Department of Nagaland for their collaborative work on making on-ground conservation of the Amur Falcon work.
Seminars and outreach programs were organized by the Pangti team, to raise awareness regarding the conservation of wildlife, especially to save the Amur Falcons. The outreach activities attempted to extent to dierent levels of stakeholders, from the villagers to the governing authorities and also including the police department. Religious institutions like dierent temples and churches were also involved in the program to increase awareness for the falcons. The awareness programs were also conducted in schools of Sungro, Sanis and Englan ranges, covering more than 15 villages in Nagaland. A marathon was also organized to raise awareness regarding the downfall in numbers of the migratory falcon. The relevance of these outreach programs was to make the local communityaware regarding the Amur Falcon who come in spectacular numbers to roost in and around Sungro Range during the bird’s migratory path from Eastern Asia to the Southern Africa. The Pangti team also created alternative livelihood opportunities for the villagers depending on hunting and natural resource extraction from the forests.
The back stories of mass killings of the falcons were driven by insucient livelihood opportunities for the locals who depended on agriculture. The locals also had to face threats to their livelihood from crop predation by wild animals and also by insucient pest control, all of which left some of the people with no choice but to hunt wild animals, including falcons. The Pangti Council took major eorts in convincing the local community members from killing Amur Falcons. And it also made eorts to involve the locals in conservation work related to nature tourism, so that they deviate from traditional means of livelihood that were prone to degrade forests and wildlife.
MoUs were signed between the Pangti Council, Conservation NGOs and the Forest Department of Nagaland for the conservation of Amur Falcons. The Pangti team, along with the Forest Department of Nagaland, helped set up a team of monitoring villagers and forest personnel who would be stationed at the roosting sites and market areas to patrol the prevent the hunting/trading of the Amur Falcons. The churches in Nagaland, including the Nagaland Baptist Church Council, were also involved to spread awareness by organizing the ‘Pray for the Amur Falcon Campaign’, reaching out to about 1200 churches. The awareness programs also included eco-club activities, village level seminars, wildlife movie shows, etc. The Pangti team also helped in the imposing of ban on the use of weapons, felling of falcon roosting sites, burning of forests, shing with explosives and poison, chemical farming, etc.The Wildlife Institute of India (Dehradun) jointly collaborated with the Pangti Council to satellite tag a few Amur Falcons to study its migratory route fromAsia to Africa, for which ex-hunters turned shermen from neighboring villages were involved in execution of the eldwork. The study was an initiative of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) Dehradun, Raptors MoU of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), MME (Birdlife International) Hungary and the Department of Forest, Ecology, Environment and Wildlife Nagaland. 28 birds were ringed altogether and from among these, 3 individuals were selected and PTT tagged-one male named “Naga” and two females named “Wokha” and “Pangti” after the State, District and Village respectively. These birds were all tagged and released on 7th November, 2013. The male Amur “Naga” reached South Africa rst on 9th January, 2014, while the two females took their own time and reached later on. Since then, “Naga” and “Pangti” have taken their return journey and are now in Mongolia while there’s no more signal from “Wokha” after reaching South Africa.