Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Zunheboto District shows the way for eco conservation

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KOHIMA, NOVEMBER 28: “And I will make for you a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety”, Hosea 2:18.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. The more helpless the creature, the more that it is entitled to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”
As a Christian-dominated State, the largest Church, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) has even banned killing of wild animals. But this has not been heeded by the devoted Christians as random killing of wild animals continue, especially during this season when village authorities allowed hunting in some places like Kohima district.
The State Government has also banned hunting, but only in papers.
In Kohima, villages allowed hunting during winter season, from October to February. But banning of hunting during the remaining seasons becomes meaningless as uncountable numbers of animals are killed during this season. The much hyped talk about conservation of eco-system is just worthless when villages allow hunting once a year, spanning for at least 3 to 4 months. The destruction that can cause during this period is colossal and irreparable.
This year, due to COVID-19 and subsequently the lockdown, has also taken a huge toll on the eco-system in Nagaland.
The Zunheboto district administration has once again banned killing of wild animals and birds in any form with immediate effect and warned that defaulters would be penalized under relevant Sections of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. But what about other districts?
While the Government has been encouraging community conservation, in some area the initiative is upward trend but in many places it is not. The initiatives of the Government and various organizations and groups go waste when village authorities allow hunting during this time of the year.
One-third of villages has created community-conserved areas (CCAs) and imposed a range of regulations on hunting. Nevertheless, in a land where hunting is extensive and prevalent, where wildlife is hard to see, some villages in Zunheboto district are comparatively exceptions in that they have banned all hunting and fishing, not only in their community-conserved areas but in the entire forested landscape, at great cost to themselves.
One such example is, the local communities of 3 villages ~ Sukhai, Ghukhuyi and Kivikhu ~ have come together to protect their rivers and forests from hunting and fishing. Seven villages, under Atoizu Sub-Division, have also banned hunting.
On the banks of River Langki, spread over 650 hectares, is Ghosu Bird Sanctuary, home to many rare and endangered species of birds, butterflies, and animals. The sanctuary also has a naturally occurring, highly significant phenomenon called a salt lick. Salt licks are rich mineral deposits that serve an important ecological role as birds gather here for their fill of these nutrient-rich deposits.
The joint Village Council of Ghukiye and Nikuto villages have also banned hunting and logging and established the Ghosu Bird Sanctuary Community Conservation Area 2014 to protect the migratory and endemic species of birds and animals. From May to September, lakhs of birds belonging to the pigeon and dove family, namely Barred Cuckoo Dove, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Common Wood Pigeon, and Emerald Dove migrate to Ghosu Bird Sanctuary and gather around the salt lick to feed on the salt and breed. Besides the migratory species of doves and pigeons, the Ghosu Bird Sanctuary also harbours bird species like Long- tailed Broadbill, Red Jungle Fowl, Green Pheasant, Great Barbet, and Common Hoopoe.
The animals that can be spotted there are Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Serow, Hog Badger, Chinese Pangolin, Civets, Slow Loris and Eurasian Otter. Initial surveys of butterflies have revealed more than 70 species that include rare species like Great Nawab, Jungle Glory, Five Bar Swordtail, etc, making this sanctuary a treasure trove for butterfly enthusiasts.

Another potential for eco-tourism is in Satoi area-a place where a vast area of virgin forest still exists, with rich flora and fauna. Satoi Range is one of the only remaining virgin forest in the district. This range is surrounded by lush green trees and vegetation. Tourists can enjoy sightings of Blyth’s Tragopan, a rare bird species in this range. Rare rhododendrons can be spotted in this range during the months of April and May. This range offers facility for camping and trekking.
This range has been recognised as an important birds’ area for it rich bird diversity and the forest also hosts some of the rarest and endangered species includes the Western Hoolock Gibbon, Chinese Pangolin, Great Hornbill apart from Blyth’s Tragopan.
(Page News Service)