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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Action taken in INDIA against AMUR FALCON slayings and massacre

Dear All

We have exchanged lots of emails on this issue, and I have also replied to some of you. Yesterday I had a meeting with Ramki Sreenivasan of ConservationIndia, the person who brought out this issue through his visit to Nagaland in second half of October, and Dr S. Subramanya. Full credit should go to Ramki for bringing out this issue to our attention. I want to brief you on some points and also update you:

1. BNHS/IBCN is fully involved in this campaign. Neha Sinha, Policy and Advocacy officer of BNHS (funded by RSPB) was involved with Ramki from the beginning and helped in some policy and legal issues.

2. After seeing the massacre, Ramki contacted the Nagaland officials who acted quickly, and prevented further killing. They have posted police and forest guards in the area.

3. The Indian Minister of Environment and Forests, Mrs Jayanthi Natarajan, has asked for an explanation and action taken report from the Nagaland government, so there is a flurry of activity in Nagaland.

4. Small scale opportunistic killing of Amur Falcon annually was going on for a long time, but this large-scale killing started only 5-6 years ago after the development of a reservoir. Possibly the presence of large number of dragonflies (due to reservoir water) attract falcons but this need to be confirmed through studies. Anyway, soon after development of the reservoir the villagers found out falcon concentration and started killing them, although it is legally banned. Two years ago, a separate government notification was brought out by the Nagaland government banning falcon killing but not much was done as the area is remote and difficult to monitor. Now, with this media campaign, people have realized the extent of killing.

5. Ramki is in regular touch with people of that area and yesterday he told me that strict steps have been taken to prevent further killing, and anyway falcon migration is over.

6. Yesterday, Ramki and Dr S. Subramanya (known person in BirdLife, and IBCN State Coordinator of Karnataka) agreed that we have to start a long-term environmental education (EE) programme in Nagaland to prevent all type of bird killing. I will discuss this with Cristi, Mike and Marco next week during BirdLife Asia meeting, and with Ian Barber (whom I am meeting on 17th). We will write a project proposal for funding by Indian MoEF, but we will also require more funds. EE in Nagaland has to be long-term as killing of birds is quite extensive in rural areas all over Nagaland (and some other states of north-east India).

7. International campaign should go ahead and RSPB, BirdLife International, CMS, Conservation International, Raptor NGOs, BirdLife partners etc should write to Mrs Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of Environment and Forests, Government of India, Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, India. They should congratulate her for her quick action. IBCN members are also writing letters to Mrs Natarajan. I will bring up this issue in the next meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife.

8. Ramki will be regularly updating so please check his website.

9. Atul Sathe, PRO of BNHS has been very active in contacting media so lot of newspaper reports have come out, shocking people. He is in touch with Ramki for updates. Please forward media reports from your country and elsewhere to Atul as he is keeping track. If anyone of you want media reports from India, please contact Atul.

Asad Rahmani