TODAY -

Deforestation defaces Shirui mountain
Source: The Sangai Express / Mungchan Zimik

Ukhrul, January 31 2020: Man made destructions at Shirui mountain range has left a deep impact on the environment greatly affecting the annual migration of the Grey sided Thrush, locally known as Siri during winter every year.

This migratory bird feed on a tree seed called "Shirungthei" in the local parlance during the whole winter season but with vast deforestation of the hill range, it has had a nagative impact on the number of the seed bearing trees.



Deforestation defaces Shirui mountain
Deforestation defaces Shirui mountain


Interacting with this correspondent, a number of Shirui villagers said that uncontrolled felling of trees bearing Shirungthing, (scientific name Meghalia Champaca) has reduced the number of the winged visitor to Shirui mountain range.

The migratory bird is more often forced to cut short their winter sojourn to Shirui hills and move on to other places in search of food.

Siri come from places such as Siberia and China.

But the visit of the Grey-sided Thrush (Turdus feae) is slowly dwindling with each passing winter.

In the years gone by, Siri used to swarm the Shirui mountain range during winter looking for food and fed on the tree seed/Shirungthei found at the Shirui mountain range.

This migratory bird usually visit Shirui from early November and stay till January, and it would flock the evergreen forest at altitudes ranging between 1,500 and 2,600 metres.

After the breeding season in September, the Grey-sided Thrush begins its migration southwards and nestles at Shirui mountain range for three months.

It is during this time, that locals catch Siri using locally made trap known as 'nei' .

Siri birds after feeding on the tree seed/Shirungthei drink water from the nearby stream and this is the time when the villagers used to catch them using 'nei' which is a kind of an adhesive.

Siri is a delicacy amongst the Tangkhul people.

This winter, there is very less catch because of the decrease in the number of Siri passing through the area, informed a village elder.

They further informed that there are varieties of Siri bird (Siri Mapom, Siri Khakazek and Siri Luishi) among which Siri Mapom is the biggest while Shiri Khakazek usually lead the migration.

Shirui mountain range covers Shirui, Khangkhui Khunou, Khangkhui Khullen, Sihai, Mapum, Lunghar etc, and it is on this range that the migratory bird takes shelter.

Shirui mountain range is home to many wild animals including monkey, deer, antelope, wild goat, rodents etc and rare birds like Blyts Tragopan and Humesbird/ pheasant.

Kashong peak on the Shirui mountain range is the abode of Shirui Lily.

Besides deforestation, persistent forest fire in the mountain ranges during dry season endangering the flora and fauna of Shirui mountain.

The devastation brought on Shirui mountain range has also led to the shrinkage of the spring water source at the mountain, which in turn lead to water shortage in Ukhrul town.

If the current situation persists, the flora and fauna in the mountain range will fall considerably in the following years.

(This piece has been filed under the State level media fellowship of the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change) .


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