Rare Mandarin duck sighted on the first day of water-bird census

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IMPHAL, January 18: A rare migratory bird Mandarin duck was seen around the Loktak Lake this year after a gap of 34-35 years.

The migratory birds were sighted during the first day of the water bird census 2014, which kicked off today.

After the two-day long Loktak Water-bird census held at Toubul High School on January 13-14, the Water Bird Census, 2014 commenced from today under the aegis of the Department of Forest, Wildlife Wing.

Around 200 volunteers including locals along with department officials kept watch at 50 selected sites for water-birds.

Since early morning today, the volunteers went out to several places including Toubul, Thinungei, Khoijuman, Ngaikhong, Sekmaijing, Thamnapokpi, Khoidum pat, Keibul, Uchiwa, Mayangand, Ishok, Ningthoukhong, Phubala, Thamnapokpi, Ithing, Komlakhong Chingthi counting the migratory birds.

According to Premjit, one of the volunteers of the Centre for Conservation of Nature and Cultivation of Science present at the Toubul site, the presence of migratory birds in the area was comparatively less than last year’s census record.

However, two very rare buck species were sighted for the first time in and around the lake.

According to experts, the sighting of the species was first reported in 1936 and was last seen in 2006, which was however not officially confirmed or recorded.

The experts also informed that the general belief is that the species has not been sighted in the state for the past 35-36 years.

An expert while saying that the presence of migratory bird this year was less as compared to last year, further pointed out that it could be because of the pollution, as clear water bodies attract the water birds more.

Dr Khangembam Samugnou, Wild Life activist and member of the Special Deer Group International Organisation of Switzerland, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Census co-coordinator RK Birjit head of Department, Mangolnganbi College, Ningthoukhong; officials of the Keibul Lamjao Forest Rangers; District Forest Officer of Bishnupur district were present during today’s census counting.

The census will continue till March.

CCNCS volunteers present during the census appealed to the concerned authorities to take proper action as several bottles of pesticides and insecticides suspected to be used by poachers and bird hunters were found at Toubul.

The volunteers also said that the use of such toxic chemicals could pollute the lake and harm the organisms found in the lake.

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