SUBJECT :Nagaland’s second biodiversity meet which was held from October 27 to November 4 recorded more than 80 butterfly species, bringing the total to 200 species of butterflies recorded from Zunheboto area 

Roosting Amur falcons at Pangti village. (Photo Courtesy Siddharth Edake)

Dimapur, November 6, 2018 (MExN): Nagaland’s second biodiversity meet which was held from October 27 to November 4 recorded more than 80 butterfly species, bringing the total to 200 species of butterflies recorded from Zunheboto area; and some specials, such as sightings of flocks of Grey-headed parrotbills.

As part of the biodiversity meet, The Energy Research Institute (TERI) has been working in three villages of Zunheboto district with the support of the Nagaland Forest Department to train local communities in the documentation of their biodiversity, facilitate the local people’s conservation efforts, and to develop nature based ecotourism.

A press note from the TERI informed that the activities sponsored by the GEF Satoyama project via Conservation International-Japan “resulted in the stopping of hunting across the landscape and destructive fishing practices in just two years.”

“The people have created and linked their community-conserved areas and are protecting the Tizu River which flows through their landscapes,” it added.

Amesiasanguiflua moth. (Photo courtsey Vihoto Kiba)

The first ever Nagaland Biodiversity Meet was organised in May this year to learn about and document the biodiversity of Tizu Valley Biodiversity Conservation and Livelihood Network, comprising the villages of Sukhai, Ghukhuyi and Kivikhu in Zunheboto District.

Following this, a second ecotourist meet was conducted by TERI from the October 27 to November 4 to highlight community-conservation efforts in Nagaland. The TERI said that the meets have led to “stellar conservation successes including the end to the slaughter of the migratory Amur falcons, bird tourism in Khonoma and the initiation of butterfly and bird tourism in Zunheboto village.”

The TERI team in association with Titli Trust and volunteers had conducted faunal surveys in the three villages of Zunheboto district. This has led to the formation of a checklist consisting of 222 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies and more than 200 species of moths so far.

Many new and interesting records have already been documented, informed the TERI. They include the Naga Wren-babbler (Spelaeornischocolatinus) and Hodgson’s Frogmouth (Batrachostomushodgsoni) as well as the Spot-breasted Parrotbill (Paradoxornisguttaticollis ).

Amongst the butterflies, the endemic Naga Emperor (Chitorianaga) and the Rufous Silverline (Spindasisevansii) have been reported here; both are extremely rare species. Amongst the moths, Comostolahauensteini has been recorded for the first time from Nagaland, while Kranandalucidaria has been reported for the first time from India.

The second ecotourist meet which concluded on November 4 introduced people to the “wonders of Nagaland—the culture, the people, the landscape and the rich biodiversity.”

The TERI said that thirteen participants, including experienced naturalists, adventurers, photographers, students, professors and nature lovers from Delhi, Mumbai and the US gathered for the meet.

Surprise sightings included a large flock of Grey-headed Parrotbills (Paradoxornisgularis) though the much anticipated Spot-breasted Parrotbill proved elusive. Others interesting sightings were the Malay Tree Shrew (Tupaiabelangeri) and the Green Rat Snake (Gonyosoma oxycephalum). Additions to the bird list of the Tizu Valley included the Rufous-faced Warbler (Abroscopusalbogularisalbogularis) amongst others. Additions to earlier butterfly checklists from Tizu Valley during this biodiversity meet included the Scarce Tawny Rajah (Charaxesaristogiton) and the Tawny Rajah (Charaxesbernardus)

Meanwhile, in Wokha District, the visitors were able to witness the spectacle of more than 150,000 Amur falcons that darkened the sky in Pangti village.

“The cloud-kissed mountains, spectacular vistas and the warm and welcoming Naga tribal communities from Zunheboto, Pangti and Khonoma villages ensured that the visitors had a wonderful glimpse of Naga life,” the TERI stated. It added that local communities of Sukhai and Kivikhu showcased tribal dances, traditional yodeling and fire lighting skills for the visitors.

“Most importantly, the visitors learned about Nagaland’s many community conserved areas and their efforts to protect wildlife and forests,” the TERI said. It asserted that these visits help to encourage local communities in their conservation efforts, add to the information on the fauna of the area and provide a fillip to nature-based ecotourism.

The visitors in Zunheboto were hosted by the Tizu Valley Biodiversity Conservation & Livelihood Network, a recipient of a special mention award by the Government of India-UNDP India Biodiversity Awards 2018 for their contribution to conservation.