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From widespread hunting to wildlife conservation — how Manipur district took 180 degree turn

Snippets from the vibrant Northeast that capture politics, culture, society and more in the eight states.

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New Delhi: A small group of nature lovers are slowly changing the impression of Tamenglong, a hill district in Manipur, from being a place notoriously known for widespread hunting of wildlife to one that protects its animals and birds.

Tamenglong borders Assam and Nagaland, and is one of the most backward districts in Manipur. Nearly 90 per cent of the district is under forest cover and it is part of the Indo-Myanmar biodiversity hotspot, reports Mongabay. Illegal hunting was rampant and the open selling of both live and dead animals widespread.

While Amur falcons, world’s longest travelling raptors, were killed in thousands about a decade ago in the district, its conservation today has put Tamenglong on the global map. Awareness campaigns by local NGOs and government initiatives are behind this success. Two orders were recently passed in the district — a complete ban on hunting of these birds and seizing all guns from households between September and December when the raptors visit the district.

“In Tamenglong villages, most households have guns. Hunting has been a way of life for them and it can’t be changed overnight. However, it is fantastic for a start to have a closed period of a few months when hunting is stopped. This shows that there is a level of awareness,” Suresh Kumar, a wildlife biologist working in Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, has been quoted by the report as saying.

Similarly, Nehemiah Panmei, a honorary wildlife warden of Tamenglong, has been trying to convince villagers to set aside land for wildlife conservation because most of the forests in the district fall under community-owned areas.

Panmei began an initiative at Azuram, a picturesque village around 26 km from Tamenglong town, where he convinced residents to set aside land for a community reserve forest.

“Killing of animals has completely stopped in our village. The villagers don’t even cut trees. Today, Azuram community forest holds a plethora of species like monkeys, barking deers, serows, pangolins, wild boars, tortoises along with a variety of birds,” Panmei has been quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, organisations like the Rainforest Club of Tamenglong, a wildlife conservation group, and Tamenglong Animals Home have been making people aware of conservation, providing treatment to injured animals and voicing concern about deforestation.

Also read: ‘Pick any & whisper a prayer’ — How Nagaland residents are helping needy by giving clothes

In Nagaland village, people are searching for ‘diamonds’ 

News of ‘diamond-like’ stones being found at Wanching village in Nagaland’s Mon district this week had led to a frenzy. People from the village and neighbouring places started digging large swatches of the area in search of more such sparkling stones.

According to reports, a stone was found by one of the villagers of Wanching when he was farming in the field Wednesday (25 November).

“People started digging all over as four-five more such stones were found. Although coal is found in the area, the chances of these stones being diamond are remote since the stones were found too close to the surface,” the district’s Deputy Commissioner Thavaseelan K has been quoted as saying.

The Nagaland government has, meanwhile, ordered an investigation into this incident. An order was issued by the Director of the Department of Geology and Mining, S. Manen, that four geologists should investigate and “submit the status report at the earliest” about the supposed precious stone.

Assam youth’s drama in ‘highly commended’ section of BBC list

A radio drama written by Assam’s Subhasish Das, called ‘The Annoying Tap Water’, was recently listed in the ‘highly commended’ section of the International Radio Playwriting Competition, 2020, by the BBC World Service and the British Council.

His play features among 13 others from across the world, including one by another Indian, Ketaki Sheth. Das had earlier also won the ‘Pamper Premium Care Saudi Arabia Campaign Award Contest, 2020’. He has also written a book called Time Machine: Memories from the Eastern Plains.

“Stories are everywhere; hidden at every simplest corner of your house. Just look around and connect the dots. Miracle shall unveil. Thus, the irritating, annoying sound of leaked water tap of my kitchen has become the premise of the dramatic radio play — The Annoying Water Tap,” Das has been quoted as saying.

Mascot ‘Goldy’ to sensitise people about voting rights in Assam

The administration of Bongaigaon district in Assam has launched a mascot of the endangered Golden Langur, called ‘Goldy’, to sensitise its residents about their voting rights.

“Golden Langur species is a pride for Bongaigaon and it is found in Kakoijana reserve forest in the district. Since this reserved forest is going to be a sanctuary, we have to conserve and save the species. Hence, the species has been selected as a mascot to create awareness on voting rights of the citizens and its conservation,” Deputy Commissioner M.S. Lakshmi Priya has been quoted as saying.

District Election Officer Benu Mushahary has said ‘Goldy’ will teach people about their rights and duties regarding elections and also answer voters’ queries online.

Also read: Meghalaya football fan clubs go beyond playground, provide aid in rural areas


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