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After only three days of the killing of the released radio-tagged migratory bird Amur Falcon named ‘Manipur’ by miscreants in between the districts of Tamenglong and Noney, at Puching village, there has been another incident of killing of migratory birds at Ukhrul.
A large number of migratory birds ‘Grey Heron’ was reportedly seen perching at the tall tree inside the Duncan Park located at Ukhrul on November 7, and the birds were hunted down by unknown local hunters on the same day.
Upon investigation and confirmation of the killings, the divisional forest officer (DFO) of Ukhrul Forest Division has suspended the chowkidar stationed at Duncan Park, whose negligence in his duties has been the cause of the incident. An order dated November 8 signed by DFO of Ukhrul has immediately terminated the service rendered by R. Leishipam as chowkidar, and the duties and responsibilities to look after the park on muster roll basis has been entrusted to Semmi Ragui until further orders.
According to sources, many Grey Herons were killed by unknown local hunters in the evening and night of November 7. The flock of the migratory birds were seen coming from the western side and were taking rest at the tall trees inside the park. It is reported that the birds flew towards eastern side for in the early morning of November 8.
Standing up to a metre tall, adult grey heron weigh around 1 to 2 kg. The bird has a white head and neck with a broad black stripe that extends from the eye to the black crest. The body and wings are grey above and the under parts are greyish-white, with some black on the flanks.
The long, sharply pointed beak is greyish and the legs are brown. The grey heron (Ardea cinerea) is a long legged predatory wading bird of the heron family -Ardeidae, found in temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa.
It is resident in much of its range, but some populations from the more northern parts migrate southwards in autumn. A bird of wetland areas, it can be seen around lakes, rivers, ponds, marshes and on the sea coast.
It feeds mostly on aquatic creatures which it catches after standing stationary beside or in the water or stalking its prey through the shallows.
The DFO has appealed the people of Ukhrul to protect migratory birds and extend co-operation to the department in protecting and preserving wildlife including other birds’ species and animals found in the district. He stated that strict actions would be initiated against the culprits as per the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.