Help required to end hunting massacre in Nagaland, India

An adult male Amur Falcon hangs helplessly in a hunter's net (Conservation India)
An adult male Amur Falcon hangs helplessly in a hunter's net (Conservation India)
By Jim Lawrence, Thu, 15/11/2012 - 16:00

On November 1st, national online campaigning organisation Conservation India broke the shocking news of an appalling massacre of thousands of migrating Amur Falcons Falco amurensis that had recently been trapped for sale in the remote state of Nagaland in the north-east of India. Taking advantage of the falcons' habit of concentrating in huge numbers during their migration, local hunters have been spreading nets across vast areas of the birds' forest roost sites, capturing them en masse and then keeping the often-injured Amurs alive, until they might be killed and sold as fresh food. The recent trapping and slaughter appears to have been taking place on an 'industrial scale' and unless stopped will clearly have a devastating affect on the birds' global population at these unsustainable levels.

Massive nylon nets set to trap Amur Falcons as they fly in to their forest roost sites


  Please note this video that documents the massacre contains some extremely disturbing footage.

The Amur Falcon Massacre, Doyang, Nagaland from Conservation India on Vimeo. Such is the reach of today's social media that this emotive story went viral within hours and during the next few days, news quickly spread around the world shocking all who read about the Amurs' plight. Conservation India's highly effective campaign has already helped galvanise local, national and international action.

Trapped Amur Falcons await their fate


Today we invite you to now help us stop this killing forever by donating to an emergency fund that will help Bombay Natural History Society (BirdLife in India) coordinate the action that is required to ensure this massacre will never happen again. If you are moved by this issue please don't turn aside - donating now will make a huge difference to the future of these birds and every little helps. Donate with JustGiving and PayPal Vital actions that will be funded this way include establishing field teams to monitor the Amur Falcons at their roost sites, direct intervention to prevent further illegal hunting of all species and the establishment of a sustained education and engagement programme within communities in Nagaland and other north-eastern states of India, where illegal and indiscriminate hunting is sadly still prevalent.

A hunter laden with illegally captured and still live Amur Falcons


What is being done BirdLife International has already taken swift action to address this hunting massacre on several fronts. As well as contributing to the preparation and initial release of the campaign story by Conservation India, Bombay Natural History Society took immediate action when they were alerted to events - with their CEO, Dr. Asad Rahmani immediately writing to Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan - the Indian Minister for Environment & Forests. BNHS also took up the issue with the Government of India through the Indian Bird Conservation Network and ensured that the Chief Minister of Nagaland was also effectively lobbied.

National and Local government action swiftly followed. The Honourable Minister, Smt Jayanthi Natarajan personally intervened and The Indian Forest Department and District Administration also acted fast to destroy nets and release several still-captive falcons. The sale of falcons has now been stopped and at least one person has already been jailed.

Now the birds that avoided trapping have departed India to continue their migration, BNHS plans to introduce measures that will prevent this crisis from happening again. However, hunting in Nagaland has been an issue for many years and shifting deep-seated cultural perspectives is likely to be a lengthy process. Long-term community engagement will inevitably be the key to a lasting solution.

Amur Falcon is an incredible long distance migrant, which travels from its breeding grounds in north-east Asia via the Indian Subcontinent and a lengthy flight over the Indian Ocean, to winter in Southern Africa. To enjoy protection throughout their intercontinental flyways, species taking such journeys require coordinated conservation action in many different countries.  The BirdLife Flyways Programme is ideally placed to coordinate national conservation action along such extensive migratory routes.

Several BirdLife Partners and BirdLife International staff have also been actively involved in the coordination of a longer term international advocacy campaign in conjunction with the United Nation’s Convention on Migratory Species. In addition, BirdLife Partners, including BirdLife South Africa, where the species winters, see here, and RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), see here, have also been lending voice to the campaign, ensuring their national supporters and relevant government agencies are aware of the situation.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank every concerned individual who has written to us directly from all over the world asking how they and we might act to prevent this massacre from occurring again. We apologise for not being able to respond to every enquiry individually. We welcome the unity of commitment from all who wish to help. We urgently need your support. Please make a donation to help fund the further work we need to do. All images used in this news story are presented with the kind permission of Conservation India who retains full image copyright. This news story is brought to you by the BirdLife Flyways and Preventing Extinctions Programmes.

Asia India Migratory Birds and Flyways - Asia


Because those 2 million chickens are domesticated and no longer contributing to the ecosystems balance, if it were wild chickens (which exist) it would be tragedy as well. If you are against the mass production of animals for human consumption I understand, but it is a whole different issue than this brutal attack to a population that may disappear too soon because of it.

ya, i am with you

Detailed field study is required to plan anything in Nagaland.It is quite easy in other states but not in eastern states including Assam.

Poor birds this had to do something, you are not satisfied.I ban all products from india if not respect our birds

Chicken or falcon, both are birds. Why people like one over the other? For me both are equally important. Can someone explain why humans do not have falcon farms if they are so much concerned about this killing.

It isn't the the act of killing a bird which people are worried about, it's the fact that huge quantities of wild birds are being taking directly from a population. This could eventually endanger this species of falcon and it could become extinct.

It's really sad to know these things still continue to happen today, "mankind" doesn't deserve this planet, nor even to share it with these beautiful animals. How can someone compare Chickens to these birds like it's the same thing, I am not saying chickens shouldn't have respect, but yes they're bred for food, they aren't wild animals like these. Sometimes you think, why to be admired by situations like this if you can find stupidity so close on a simple website comment.

With respect to education on environmental and conservation issues, the World Environmental Education Congress 2013 is to take place in Morocco in June 2013. I hope that this and other issues on environment and conservation will be raised and discussed at length. I believe that over 100 countries will be represented. It will be a wonderful opportunity to mobilize world opinion. Best. Rohan Wickramasinghe

not forgetting Conservation India too! Donated. Who cant donate to such an immensely shocking cause.

Mankind is just abhorrent at times. Thank goodness for organisations like the Bombay Natural History Society

Eventhough it is brutal and illegal, we cannot blame the tribes, bcoz its the ignorance that make them commit these kinds of practices.obviously laws must be enforced but beyond that,i suggest,bringing awareness is more important.and must check whether the awareness is effective or not.

Over 2 million chicken are killed daily in USA. Why is this 15000 birds a day killing in India is an issue?

Shame on you Nagaland.

What the hell is wrong with Chicken??? We receive the entire population of this species here in South Africa each year where they provide an invaluable service to farmers and agriculture. I want my children to enjoy the spectacular roosts of these birds in the future. This slaughter is nothing short of international vandalism and ignorance on such a huge scale. WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO ABOUT IT?????

This hunting massacre must be stop or Amur Falcons will endanger and will only be seen in pictures for the next 10 years. Buying any falcons specially Amur should not be tolerable in market.

Shocking. As with other wildlife hunting in the northeast India, the tribals who hunt have no idea about the population status of the hunted animals, and therefore they think nothing of it. Educating these tribal communities is essential for conservation plan to work. Whether the Amur Falcon are hunted as a traditional practice or solely for meat, awareness programs and providing funds for commercial quail/chicken farming will help. A review of studies on hunting in NE India- http://www.pheasant.org.uk/uploads/Pages61-73_Aiyadurai.pdf Other interventions- http://www.wildlifetrustofindia.org/current-news/121207_Taking_conservation_to_the_Hornbill_Festival.html

I think Indian authorities should enforce much tougher laws against illegal hunting and trading birds. There also should be awareness campaigns organized by the authorities about the ecological importance of birds.

January 30,2013 Thank your for what you do to help nature and its inhabitants

I ban all products from india if not respect our birds.

B Wijnberg Says: November 16th, 2012 at 9:01 am Mankind is just abhorrent at times. Thank goodness for organisations like the Bombay Natural History Society At times? How about . . . all the time. A common question: "What do you believe in." On a idiot would answer, "I believe in mankind."

Dear Sir, I am always witnessed that The illiterate and even literate Naga tribes are doing these type of stupidity........ They will know it afterwards.........

It is shameful to us - killing of migrate birds. In our country lack of awareness to protect animals, birds, insects etc. is lagging behind. Unless the concerned state governments do the vigorous campaign of saving these fauna, we cannot control these killings.

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