06 May 2016 Current Affairs: A rare and colourful sighting has enraptured birdwatchers across Maharashtra with the unexpected visitor, in the form of an elusive Amur Falcon, being spotted last week at the Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary near the Pench Tiger Reserve, 60 km from Nagpur.
In India, this winged raptor (bird of prey) the size of a pigeon makes its home in the North-eastern State of Nagaland, before traversing a staggering 22,000 km from there to South Africa then onto Mongolia and back to Nagaland. The bird has one of the longest and most fascinating migratory paths in the avian kingdom.The falcon breeds in south-eastern Siberia and North-eastern China where the Amur River divides the Russian Far East and China.
Amur Falcons typically begin their annual journey from North- Eastern Siberia and Northern China, heading to North-East India and roosting in Nagaland, before leaving for Africa, where they spend their winters.
The birds’ roosting in Nagaland made them particularly vulnerable to hunters who mass-slaughtered them for their tender meat. It was reported that in 2013, nearly 1, 20, 000 of these falcons were trapped and killed at just one location in Nagaland each year.
Appalled at this savagery, several green groups, along with concerned locals and the Church, joined hands and launched a conservation and patrolling programme called ‘Friends of the Amur Falcon’ to end the killings.