Ezrela Dalidia Fanai, NET Correspondent, Mizoram
No one can be not impressed with the diversity in Mizoram’s landscape. Its steep slopes are cut by rivers, while deep gorges cut their way between hills and waterfalls, valleys and streams. The wildlife in Mizoram is equally impressive, Mammals, amphibians, reptiles and avifauna, the dense lush forests are home to an impressive number of these.
In some of the famous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Mizoram, you can spot a variety of mammals including tiger, leopard, Gaur, Asiatic black bear and civets of various kinds, from Large Indian Civet to Himalayan Palm Civet. Apart from these, Mizoram is also home to various kinds of primates capped langur, stumped tailed macaque and slow loris. The flora is as impressive as the fauna, with the bamboo and Himalayan maple occurring the most in the region. Orchids of rare species are also a part of this rich floral diversity.
However, rapid urbanisation and population explosion have posed a threat to this exoticness of Mizoram and reportedly, the state has lost a major portion of its beauty and natural resources over the years. Intending to protect the natural beauty of the state and create awareness on environment conservation, 16 friends came together in October 2019 to form a group named Conservation Mizoram.
The group began out of pure passion and every member contributed Rs 100 every month to meet the necessary monthly expenses.
“We carry out awareness campaigns in schools across the State and plant trees every year on the outskirts of Aizawl,” said Rochamliana, one of the founding members of the organisation to this correspondent.
To date, the organisation has visited 350 villages in Mizoram and carried out conservation awareness campaigns and identified different species of birds found in the state.
The organisation has also participated in the United Nations Environment Programme on Convention on Migratory Species, Conference of the Parties (COP 13) at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, which was held between February 13 to February 17 last year.
At International Conference on Recent Advances in Animal Sciences (ICRAAS 2019), Conservation Mizoram presented a paper on ‘Documentation on Indian Black Eagle: observations on nesting biology at Sailam, Mizoram’.
The most noteworthy work done by Conservation Mizoram is the “Sailam Bird Sanctuary”, which is conservation through community’s participation.
Sailam, a place only 76 kilometres from Aizawl is a hot spot of various species of birds, which has attracted ornithologists
With the help of Sailam villagers, Conservation Mizoram formed a society called Sailam Ecological Conservation Society. Through money contributed by conservationists, the residents of Sailam village constructed two cottages and a kitchen.
“We approached the society and laid down the plan for the establishment of the first tourist-based birding spot in Mizoram. We hope that the villagers will encourage others to stop hunting birds and wild animals. Though a lot has been accomplished, we still have to ensure its sustainability,” Rochamliana added.
For the first time in the state of Mizoram, a bird census was held on February 27, 2021, at Sailam bird sanctuary. The event was called 1st Chapchar Awllen Sava Chhiarpui 2021.
This census was jointly organised by Conservation Mizoram and Sailam Ecological Conservation Society.
The event saw over 30 people participating in the counting of birds from early morning till noon.
Over 160 birds of different varieties were counted by Bird watchers that day. Birds like Chesnut Bunting, Green Cochoa, RedFace Liocichla, Rofuous throated hill Patridge Velvet Fronted Nuthatch, White-bellied Erpornis, Small Niltava, Black Eared Shrike Babbler, Frogmouth, Firetailed Sunbird, Black Redstart, Taiga Flycatcher, Verditer flycatcher among others were spotted among the whole bird census.
Besides the 160 varieties of birds spotted at the event, Sailam bird sanctuary has also recorded more than 270 different varieties of birds in the past.
With the hope of conserving the ecology and wildlife of the state, Conservation Mizoram and other ornithologists pray that projects such as the Sailam Bird Sanctuary would motivate other villages in Mizoram to protect their environment and wildlife and show them that they could reap benefits from conservation by becoming custodians of nature.
(The article has been published in the June edition of Northeast Today)