Remote. No infrastructure. Amazing! Nagaland is India’s most remote state. Lying east of Assam, Nagaland rests on the border with Myanmar and has a similar culture. The tribal region was only ‘opened’ by the Indian government in very recent years, to allow outsiders to explore the region.
When this happened, it was found that the hundreds of thousands of Amur Falcons who had been migrating through the region were stopping for days at a time. The recent hydro-electric dam that had been built seemed to have changed the ecosystem with the huge reservoir created. This prompted the local people, each season, to capture 10-12,000 falcons per day with nets, to sell them as food in the surrounding communities.
Witnessed by a local conservationist, she quickly jumped into action, gathered help and shared the story of the Amur Falcon migration, from Siberia to South Africa and back. Together they convinced the tribal elders that the falcons needed to be protected, and the elders agreed. The following season less than 1000 falcons were killed in total! This is one of the most amazing conservation stories in history!
In October 2017, Wildside owner Kevin Loughlin was joined by author Scott Weidensaul, artist Catherine Hamilton and two birders, photographers, conservationists (and hardy travelers), Peter Trueblood and Bruce Evans. With incredible help from Zeiss Optics, the team of five visited Nagaland to see the spectacle themselves. Upon entry to the state they were told by a police officer, “I’ve never seen people like you!”
In 2018, Catherine will be leading Wildside’s first official tour to the region, along with Luke Tiller. Yes, the Pangti portion will have some difficulties. Yes, it will be worth it to see the falcons! Then, after Pangti, we treat you to all luxury accommodations as we visit a couple magnificent locations in Assam… including the last strong-hold of the Asian One-horned Rhino, Kasiranga National Park.
Read Scott Weidensaul’s article in Living Bird Magazine or online at GALAXY OF FALCONS on Cornell University’s “All About Birds.”