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Migratory birds visit Loktak lake with onset of winter
Correspondent IMPHAL, Dec 21:
Published on 22 Dec. 2010 12:45 AM IST
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Amidst concern by environmentalists , migratory birds including Siberian crane have started flocking to the Loktak Lake and its surrounding smaller lakes and marshy lands.
Several migratory birds and a variety of waterfowl visit the Loktak Lake of Manipur. The lake is also the breeding ground of a number of birds. More than 30 rare migratory birds such as brahmani duck/ruddy duck, gad wall, pochard, red-leg-falcon, geese, snipe, shiri etc. from
Siberia, Russia and Himalayan range visit the only fresh water lake in the Northeastern region particularly in the winter months-November, December and January.
But, environmentalists are concerned when sharp reduction in the number of these birds was detected in the last few years. They said that hardly around 20 water birds visit the lake in the last few years. Excessive hunting, gradual decrease in the size of the habitats and the climate change are the reasons behind these sharp reduction, they added.
Birds like ukong, sea gull, Kanga, red-leg- falcon, which were seen flocking still around 10-year, were no more seen visiting the place. Sea gull numbering around 30 was last seen flocking in Pumlen Lake some year back. But this bird no more visited the lake, environmentalists observed.
Red-leg-falcon bird coming from lakes of Siberia during winter season and flocked at Loktak Lake have now shifted their flocking places at the banks of Barak, Makru and Irang rivers. This bird will flocked in these places till December and then shifts to the lakes of south India, Shri Lanka, etc.
Use of insecticides, deforestation and urbanization to meet the demands of an expanding population coupled by climate change has threatened Manipur’s rich biodiversity and rendered certain fish and bird species of Manipur extinct.
Most of the birds including state bird of Manipur, Nong-in, are greatly endangered. Besides the rare sightings they are facing the onslaught of hunters and man-made calamities.
The forest cover of Manipur is 17,219 sq km which is 77.12 percent of the total geographical area of the state (22,327sq km), according to state forest report 2003. If an urgent step for this bird’s location and conservation is not taken up, the species is certain to disappear, they fear.

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