'Air gun surrender' campaign pays off in Arunachal as rare Mandarin duck sighted at lake
The Mandarin duck is a migratory avian species native to East Asia and has been sighted in the Northeast on rare occasions
GUWAHATI: The Arunachal Pradesh government’s “Air Gun Surrender Abhiyan” is reaping rich dividends.
A Mandarin duck was sighted in the state’s Ziro on March 12 at the Siikhe Lake. This was the second appearance of the species in the Ziro Valley. The bird was sighted for the first time in the state on February 20 last year.
“The efforts of the state government through innovative schemes like the Air Gun Surrender Abhiyan to conserve bird species are showing results,” Divisional Forest Officer, Hapoli Forest Division, Abhinav Kumar said.
Hunting is traditional among certain communities in Arunachal. Earlier, the state government had launched a campaign, urging people to surrender air guns and other firearms used for hunting. Subsequently, a lot of people surrendered these.
The bird was sighted by one Koj Mama, a resident of Ziro and a member of Ngunu Ziro, which is a local conservation based-NGO. This species was sighted last year in Assam at Maguri Motapung wetland after a gap of 108 years.
The Mandarin duck is a migratory avian species native to East Asia and has been sighted in the Northeast on rare occasions. Previous recorded sighting of the species are from the Loktak Lake in Manipur in 2013 and Manas National Park in Assam in 2014.
The Siikhe Lake was subsequently visited by the officials of the Forest Department and a detailed survey of all the migratory birds present there was conducted. Other important species like the Common Teal, Eurasian Widgeon and Falcated Duck are also among the birds that have been spotted at the lake.
“The arrival of the Mandarin duck for two consecutive years indicates the Siikhe Lake has perhaps become a regular winter migration site for the species. This is a welcome development for Arunachal,” Kumar said.
The state had enacted the landmark ‘Pakke Declaration’ last October which was aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change and preserving the rare and endangered species of flora and fauna.
The Ziro Valley is one of the most beautiful high altitude valleys of the state. The state government in its recent budget announcements declared that it would build a butterfly park at Ziro for the preservation of the valley’s biodiversity.
“The addition of Mandarin duck to the winter migratory bird species to the valley will further boost the eco-tourism potential of the area,” Kumar added.