Where are you "Nongin"?
- The State Bird of Manipur -
- Part 2

By:- R.K. Birjit Singh *

Nungleiban-Khoupum area in the adjoining part of Churachandpur and Tamenglong district has been proposed as the 10th IBA of Manipur by the writer of this article and Dr. R.K. Ranjan Singh in view of the rich biodiversity and avifauna species of the area and likelihood presence of the habitat of "Nongin" and other key endangered species which fulfills IBA criteria's.

Altogether, three of us including Dr. R.K. Ranjan Singh, Dr. Th.Dollendro Singh, Earth Sciences Department, Manipur University participated the workshop at Shillong. Next day, we were joined by N. Sushindrajit Singh, a young research scholar of the Department of Zoology, NEHU.

The three-day workshop was break-up into four session in a day and the 4th or the last session was the part of the delegates to present the status of the IBA's of their respective states. I have presented the status of the avifauna, waterfowl and migratory birds of Loktak Ramsar site for Manipur on the first day.

On the second day before the last session, Dr. Ranjan already left Shillong for Guwahati to meet Dr. Anwaruddin Chaudhury, a renown ornithologist of North-East.

In the last session of the 2nd day Miss. Lalramngaki, a young Mizo girl ( who share with me as partner in certain activities of the workshop) working as Senior Scientific Officer at the Mizoram Pollution Control Board (MPCB) presented the IBA status of Mizoram using power point mentioning that Mrs. Hume's Bar Pheasant as the state bird of Mizoram.

I was stunned to hear that and murmuring in a low tone, " What the hell is going on" ?.

On hearing the murmuring voice, Dollendro, who was sitting beside me asked, " What happened Tamo "? .

I answered in a humming voice, " Look Dollen" !, " She is claiming Nongin as the state bird of Mizoram".

Joining the secret murmuring voice, " This is a serious matter", said Sashindrajit. I told them silently, " Look dear brothers, Nongin even does not like to be the state bird of Manipur in view of the fissiparous activities and the state of total anarchy".

Interestingly, in the next moment, the Mizoram delegate shows a picture of Blyth's Tragopan (Tragopan blythii) as the Mrs. Hume's Bar Pheasant.

Taking full advantage of the mistake and handicapness , I intervened the presentation with a smiling face controlling my emotion and temperament, " Look dear partner, it is quite okay to be a partner during course of this workshop and for further cause of the conservation of birds of the North - East as it is a part of the Indo-Burma region of the 33rd Biodiversity Hot Spot of the globe but how can we share a single bird species as the state bird of Manipur and Mizoram? and above all you are showing a picture of Blyth's Tragopan claiming as Mrs. Hume's Bar Pheasant".

Everybody who were present in the lecture hall were amused and laughing like anything. Miss. Lalramngaki, the Mizoram delegate melt down and could not continue her presentation. And I further clarified and explained to the delegates that Mrs. Hume's Bar Pheasant is the state bird of Manipur (Manipur State Gazette, 1989) and is protected under the schedule I of the Wild Life Protection ( Act) 1972.

After the session, Miss Lalramngaki comes to me with a lecturer in Life sciences from Mizoram and apologized about wrong presentation of picture but claimed that Mrs. Hume's Bar Pheasant as the genuine state bird of Mizoram showing a book entitled, "Mizoram and Its Wildlife" written by A.C. Zonunmawia and Navraj Pradhan and published by the Centre for Environment Protection (CEP), Mizoram in 2004. Mr. Pradhan, the co-author of the book is ACF, Chief Wildlife Warden Office, Aizawl.

Thus, my adventure and journey for tracking "Nongin" was paused and pondered for a while when I found this bird at Mizoram as its state bird. The anguish and the apathy, which I feel is the role of State Department of Forest and Environment, particularly the Wild Life Wing.

They have never initiated any programme or project to track and find the critical habits and habitats of this seriously endangered state bird of Manipur, which is essential in evolving appropriate conservation strategies for their protection and creating awareness about the conservation of the state bird, and to develop a sense of appreciation, respect and love of this bird.

Now, we have enough number of environmental laws and legislations to protect environment and wild life besides the fundamental duties of the citizens viz The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Forest Conservation Act, 1980, Environment Protection Act, 1986, Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Unfortunately, in our state of Manipur not even a single case of the violations of the environmental laws has been taken up.

"Law is what Law does", If the law does not eradicate inequalities and human sufferings and operate without reference to social goals, it becomes meaningless exercise in protection of the vested interests.

Celebrating departmental Wild Life Week over a cup of tea and chat with the big Mantrees and Officers; singing the funeral song of the vanishing wildlife in the name of conservation will not serve the purpose of saving these precious bird species, which is on last leg.

Thus, my journey ended when I found this precious State Bird of Manipur at Ukhrul district, Nungleiban area and Churachandpur district bordering with Mizoram in a very disheartening condition.

Let us take a serious care of the nature, Wildlife, environment and biodiversity that will in turn care our future and sustain life. This is the time to act. "Act now or never".


* R.K. Birjit Singh contributes to regularly . The author is a regular contributor to the reputed science journals, "The Resonance", Science Reporter, "Hornbill, Birdlife", published respectively by Indian Academy of Science, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR), Bombay Natural History Society(BNHS) and Co-organizer of Science Meet, Coordinator of "Year of Scientific Awareness"(YSA), Understanding Planet Earth(UPE) under NCSTC, DST, Govt. of India. In addition, the author is the census coordinator of "Waterfowl Census programme at Loktak wetland" and providing data's to the Asian Waterfowl count of the Wetland International, South East Asia with Dr. R.K. Ranjan Singh.
The writer can be contacted at bsningthemcha(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted at on 02nd September 2009.

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