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Nagaland Biodiversity & Conservation Programme A n A c t i o n Document

M.Sc. Wildlife Biology and Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore Department of Forests, Ecology, Environment And Wildlife, Nagaland

Bikram Grewal

Ramki Sreenivasan

Bano Haralu


De Niceville’s Windmill Atrophaneura polla (De Niceville, 1897) Order - Lepidoptera; Family - Papiliondae

De Niceville’s windmill, a very rare butterfly is known to range through Manipur, Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in India and in Myanmar. However, it is known to have been recorded/photographed only twice or thrice in the last 100 years, from Nagaland and from Mishmi hills of Arunachal Pradesh. Our sighting/photograph from Dzulekie (~1900m) in Kohima district of Nagaland during a biodiversity survey could probably be the third recorded sighting for this century. This red bodied swallow tail was described by Charles Lionel Augustus De Niceville in 1897 who was the curator of the Indian museum in Calcutta and has contributed vastly to the Entomofauna of the region. We photographed one individual of De Niceville’s windmill in May 2011 mud puddling by a river along with many individuals of Rose Windmill and Common Windmill. Due to very subtle differences between the De Niceville’s windmill and the Rose windmill, the two species are very difficult to tell apart and same reason could be responsible for this very rare status of this swallow tail. The butterfly was also seen mud puddling on the road between Kohima and Peren that goes through Dzulekie. Mud roads in northeast India have been observed to be one of the best places to see several butterfly species either basking or mud puddling. However, currently a metal road is being constructed through Dzulekie which will not only increase traffic movement through this beautiful patch of forest, but will also destroy the opportunity to observe some of these rare butterflies that often use this road.


CONTENTS Executive Summary

4

Saramati and Pungro

12

Fakim

16

Shatuza

20

Khonoma

24

Dzuleke

30

Benreu

35

Intanki

40

Singphan

45

Mokokchung

49

Acknowledgements Dr. Ajith Kumar Course Director, Post-Graduate Program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society-India, National Centre for Biological Sciences Dr. A Pittet The Centre for Electronics Design and Technology (CEDT), IISc, Bangalore Mr. Abeio Kire IFS Special Secy to CM. Former Commissioner and Secretary Forests Mr. K.S Shashidhar IFS Addl Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Mr. Zhotoho Forests Warden i/c Kiphire Mr. Ramridinbo Kaurinta Range Officer i/c Intanki National Park Mr. Kiusang Yimchunger Range Officer i/c Kiphire Mr. Chuba Forester 1 Singphan WLS Mr. Tsilie Sakhrie Khonoma Dr. Sapu Changkija, Medziphema Agricultural University Mr. Itachu Parliamentary Secretary Tourism for arrangements in Shatazu, Phek District. 3


Nagaland Wildlife Conservation

Phase I – Rapid Biodiversity Survey Executive Summary Background Nagaland is a mountainous state located in the north-eastern part of India with a geographical area of 16,527 sq. km of which ~ 30% is under forest cover. Falling in the Indo-Malayan Region it is also part of a global biodiversity ‘hotspot’ and the Eastern Himalayan endemic bird area, indicative of the region’s rich biological wealth. The remarkable floral and faunal diversity of the area could be attributed to the wide range in climatic conditions, elevation gradients and vegetation types that are characteristic of the state. Four recent field visits in 2010 to various parts of Nagaland (Khonoma, Benreu, Intanki, Pungro, Fakim, Mon and Mokokchung) by a team of wildlife enthusiasts resulted in significant wildlife sightings but also found immense and shocking conservation challenges owing to rampant hunting (both for commercial and subsistence purposes) and forest clearing (largely due to jhum or shifting cultivation practice and potentially illegal timber operations). A detailed report was submitted to the Government of Nagaland by the team in mid 2010. Despite the grim findings the team believed that Nagaland has a fantastic opportunity to protect its unique wildlife as part of its overall heritage. Thus based on the findings of these preliminary field visits and detailed discussions with senior officials of Department of Forests, Ecology, Environment and Wildlife, Nagaland, it was proposed that an immediate conservation program is considered by the government, the primary goals of which would include: • Phase 1 (just concluded) – a scientific survey to assess the current status of biodiversity and extent of biotic pressures that may influence the same across the state and identify biodiversity rich sites that would be prioritised for conservation programs 4


Nagaland Wildlife Conservation

Green-colored Pit Viper Trimeresurus cf popeorum

The team at work

• Phase 2 – Pilot the execution of conservation programs (including conservation education and eco-clubs) in a critical area identified in phase 1 to get the ‘model’ right as well as implementing existing best practices • Phase 3 – Based on learnings from phase 2, roll-out a state-wide 5-year plan for the entire state This memo summarizes phase 1, with specific recommendations based on site-wise findings and strongly recommends moving into phase 2. Results of the biodiversity survey The following areas were surveyed by a team of 11 scientists. The locations were Saramati and Pungro, Fakim, Shatuza, Khonoma, Dzuleke, Benreu, Intanki, Singphan and Mokokchung.

Recommendations A. Threat reduction Overall, the survey confirmed the urgent need for initiating conservation programs across the state especially in the key biodiversity rich areas. As the site-specific reports would suggest, though significant biodiversity exists in Nagaland, they are under tremendous pressure from diverse and intense conservation threats. 1. Hunting: the current merciless, uncontrolled, rampant, widespread and all-year round hunting at most places visited of all life-forms will in all probability wipe out wildlife in Nagaland in a few years. The team jointly feels that the situation is the worst amongst all North-east Indian states. Hunting of some species is a jailable crime in India. In Nagaland, it is pursued by one and all for domestic, local and commercial reasons. There seems to be an insatiable appetite for bushmeat. Nothing is spared and nowhere. Intanki, a national park, abounds with hunting camps. Only snakes are not consumed – though they are promptly killed on sight. One migrant raptor – the Amur Falcon – is massacred for a few rupees each in Northern Nagaland in winter. Blyth’s tragopans are captured by villages (in E Nagaland). Pastors send hunting parties for bushmeat. Real hornbill casques and feathers are sold at the Hornbill Festival.

5


Nagaland Wildlife Conservation

Nature lessons

Dead birds for sale

Strict regulations on firearms should be imposed to ensure that ammunition for guns is not easily available. Similarly, in order to discourage people from making ammunition at home, awareness campaigns should be conducted discussing the un-lawfulness of the activity and the potential punishment for such crime. Also, the process of firearm license procurement should be made more rigid and fewer licenses given out in each village. An immediate and widespread effort should be launched by the government (not just forest department) to create awareness towards stopping hunting. 2. Conservation Awareness: an awareness of protected area notifications and boundaries and what that means legally should be initiated around PAs. Violations in PA should be immediately controlled (like mining in Singphan, encroachment and hunting in Intanki) It is also vital to enlighten the forest department staff about the forest ecosystem and develop an anti-hunting sentiment, since only then can they be expected to protect the forest. Most villagers adjoining PAs were unsure of the legal status of the wildlife sanctuary and its boundaries as well as potential violations. Also, since the bulk of Nagaland’s forests fall in community owned areas, there should be a widespread conservation awareness initiative for various stakeholder groups in churches, schools, markets and villages. 3. Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centres. Across sites, the teams found wild animals kept by villagers – some as pets, others for eventual consumption. These included rare mammals like Leopard Cats, Slow Loris and Stump-tailed Macaques as well as several bird species. While the team physically didn’t observe any, keeping tragopans as pets seemed to be a widespread hobby. To manage this, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centres needs to be established in key sites area for wild animals, with modern facilities and experienced veterinarians to deal with rescued, orphaned or injured animals which can eventually be released back into the wild when considered fit to survive without human aide. Village communities need to be educated that keeping wild animals in captivity as pets is illegal. 6


Nagaland Wildlife Conservation

Timber logging

Wildlife training

Coppised Trees

Jhum

4. Jhum: Entire landscapes across the state are scarred by jhum fields. While most of these fields are on the periphery of protected areas, encroachment into the sanctuary is likely with passage of time unless Forest Department personnel begin to monitor the area regularly. The area under jhum cultivation is estimated to be over 90,000 hectares. The jhumming cycles are now down to under five years. This has resulted in acute water problems as well as huge landslips further eroding forest cover. This is one of Nagaland’s major problems and unless it is reduced, this practise will have catastrophic results. Original jhum cultivation had a long cycle of about 20-25 years, which was allowed to elapse before the same plot of land was cultivated again. In this process, the forest cover remained relatavely intact. But the increase in population demanded more cultivable land, thus shortening the period to about 4-5 years. This has greatly effected the vegetation of the area, as well as the total environment. 5. Human Activity and Encroachment: Conflicts over water resources appear to be a major source of direct conflict. The most common environmental elements around which conflicts can erupt are water flow, diversion, salinization, floods and pollution. Deforestation, due to human encroachment, results in acute water shortage and in some places the inhabitants often have to trek for miles to obtain potable water. 6. Logging / Timber Extraction: The recent escalation in the price of timber at Kohima and Dimapur to an all time high of Rs 500/- for cubic foot has only accelerated the demand for illegal timber. A recent newspaper report estimated that 7


Nagaland Wildlife Conservation

approx 3,92,000 metric tonnes of timber is removed from Nagaland every year. This despite the Hon. Supreme Court of India having issued directives to stop all illegal logging activities, as this activity inflicts permanent environmental damage to the country. B. Continued Biodiversity & Threat Assessment Studies The biodiversity survey carried out in May and June 2011 is at best a rapid dipstick. We propose more systemic and ongoing attempts to map Nagaland’s biodiversity engaging local resources that we identified across sites. This should include: 1) Intensive camera trapping for mammals in winter. Rains were an impediment for the teams in May-June 2011. 2) Butterflies and botanical survey (across seasons) is essential to assess the importance and success of initiatives by the communities. 3) A quantitative assessment of threats – hunting’s impact on species loss, loss of forest cover through jhum and logging, roads, etc. Satellite imagery data would be very valuable for such ongoing threat assesments. 4) Assessment of dependence on forest produce for livelihood purposes by local communities C. Local Engagement One heartening sign during the survey across sites was the availability of good local youth resources (most of them unemployed) to help the scientific team. These resources have abundant field and bush skills and a great understanding of the local terrain. They can be vital for ongoing biodiversity surveys as well as proposed conservation programs. We strongly recommend using them for future surveys and conservation programs. D. Alternate means of livelihood opportunities must be developed through initiatives such as local self-help groups, establishment of piggeries, poultry farms and fisheries (the scale of which should be strictly regulated and monitored). Workshops by the state animal husbandry department could be conducted to make people aware of such opportunities. Orchards and vegetable gardens in the region could also generate employment opportunities and provide income. This would be an attempt to reduce pressures on wild resources.

Large Indian Civet

8


Nagaland Wildlife Conservation

E. Conservation Program As originally discussed in the master proposal, the team recommends moving into Phase 2 of the program (detailed below).

Phase 2 Based on our current research on best practices on conservation programs, we will pilot a program in one area shortlisted from the survey results. The program will attempt to merge various conservation initiatives and arrive at a Current Best Approach (CBA) based on three specific efforts undertaken in the past in Nagaland: 1. Conservation Education Program and creation of Eco-camps (pioneered by the NGO North-east Network NEN) Initiating conservation education through teacher training workshops with custom designed education material “Under the Canopy” that helps: 1. Reconnect children with nature 2. Channel energies from hunting to curiosity 3. Exposure to alternative career options The interactive program uses 1. Art & Craft 2. Using the senses 3. Game oriented 4. Practical experiences like Herbariums 5. Activity based learning 6. Drama & Debate 7. Mapping Based on an ongoing conservation program in Chizami (Phek district) the “Under the canopy” program had the following outcome: 1. Shift in focus and a change in perception were seen in people in 3 days. 2. Realization that their forests and animals were in trouble and that they had the power to do something to reverse the damage done. 3. Desire to eat wild meat reduced 4. Parts of the forest declared protected 5. Field visits to wildlife sanctuaries (like Kaziranga) initiated Pictures 1 & 2 below show parts of the ‘Under the Canopy’ material used in teacher workshops.

9


Nagaland Wildlife Conservation

2. Creation of Community Conservation Areas (CCAs) pioneered in Saramati by the Late Dr. Ravi Sankaran of SACON, Coimbatore. Pictures 3 & 4 show the broad level CCA creation process as well as an instance of CCA resolution by villages in Saramati.

CCA Project Implementation Steps to Sustain the Community Conservation Effort: 1. Capacity Building 2. Advocacy 3. Secondary Data Collection (especially recording IEK) 4. Formulation of CCAs Support Impact of the Saramati Project 1. Many Formal Resolutions (as many as 25) Proposing for New, Larger CCAs 2. Christian Missionary (Association) Banned Serving Wild Animals in the Feasts at Churches 3. Several Student Unions of Nagaland Banned Hunting & Selling of Wild Animals 4. Press Reports on the Project (environment related) Activity- ~25 3. Stopping hunting in Khonoma by village elders Khonoma is the first village in Nagaland to ban logging and hunting in their community forest in 1996. Both these initiatives have lead to regeneration of the natural resources including the setting up of the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary. For this the community leadership has received applause from individuals, organizations and government. They have clubbed the efforts of conservation with rich culture and history of Khonoma, to initiate community driven ecotourism programme. Even, in this Khonoma leads, by being the first village in Nagaland to be awarded the Green Village project. The objectives of this initiative are stated below: 1. Conservation of natural resource and wildlife in the community owned village forest land, to ensure secure future for coming generations 2. Banking on the rich natural, cultural and historical traditions to develop an alternative livelihood source in form of ecotourism to bring developmental benefits to the village 3. Approach to conservation and ecotourism are guided by the perspective of sustainable development, i.e. one that ensures environmental, economic and cultural sustainability. 10


SURVEY SITES

STATE OF NAGALAND

Arunachal Pradesh

MON

Singphan

LONGLENG Chantongia

MOKOKCHUNG

Assam

Old Riphyim

Doyang

TUENSANG Aizuto

WOKHA

ZUNHEBOTO Ghosu Tuophema

DIMAPUR Llilen Intanki

KOHIMA

Khonoma Benreu

KIPHIRE Pungro

Fakim

MYANMAR

Mt. Saramati

PHEK Meluri Shatuza

Dzuleke

PEREN

Manipur

Survey Sites Not to scale. Borders not correct.

11


Saramati and Pungro

Location:

Saramati / Pungro Team visited:

GPS Coordinates:

Saramati: 25°44’23.34”N, 95° 2’13.98”E Pungro: 25°48’47.68”N 94°50’42.63”E

District:

Tuensang / Kiphire

Dates visited: 10th – 16th May

Shashank Dalvi, Vishnupriya S., Aamod Zambre, Anup BP and Tsutenmew

Inroduction 1. Saramati Community Forest This is a large stretch of forest that is contiguous with Fakim wildlife sanctuary. The last village in this area, Thanamir owns this forest patch. The region is under great stress from many anthropogenic factors such as large scale jhum (upto 2400 m in elevation), intense hunting for bush-meat and regular collection of firewood. The greatest market demand for animal parts both from Fakim and Saramati come from Myanmar. It is imperative that this community forest be declared a CCA for future conservation. 2. Pungro Town and surrounding habitat This place although very much degraded, the habitat (grassy slopes with mid elevational conifer forest) around Pungro is home to four distinct species of laughingthrushes namely Moustached Laughingthrush (near endemic to Indian Sub-continent), Yellow-throated Laughingthrush (near endemic to Indian Sub-continent), Spot-breasted Laughingthrush, and White-browed Laughingthrush. This habitat is currently under pressure due to massive logging of conifer trees. It is important to protect this habitat from logging without further delay.

Team member with local villagers

12


Saramati and Pungro

3. The team proposes further biodiversity monitoring work: • Extensive camera trapping during winter. • Urgent attention is needed to find out more about status of Leaf Deer and conservation of the species in Nagaland. Intense camera trapping along the eastern border of Nagaland will add more knowledge of the distribution of the species in Nagaland. • Extensive snake and amphibian survey during monsoon • Regular monitoring and further study of birds like laughingthrushes (ones from Saramati as well as Pungro).

Capped Langur being cooked

Moustached Calotes

13


Saramati and Pungro

Biodiversity Findings • L  eaf Deer or Putao Muntjac (Muntiacus putaoensis): First confirmed record for the state. Further confirmation regarding the presence of Leaf Deer are currently under progress in the NCBS lab. • P  ungro is home to four distinct species of laughingthrushes poorly known in India namely Moustached Laughingthrush (near endemic to Indian Sub-continent), Yellow-throated Laughingthrush (near endemic to Indian Sub-continent), Spotbreasted Laughingthrush, and White-browed Laughingthrush. • Black-faced Laughingthrush (Garrulax affinis): New sub-species for India. • Scaly Laughingthrush (Garrulax subunicolor): New sub-species for India. • Brown Bush-warbler (Bradypterus luteoventris): First breeding elevation range for India. • S potted Slug Snake (Pareas macularius): First colour images of a snake from India, also recorded after a long time.

Women collecting wood

14


Leaf Deer

The discovery of Leaf Deer Muntiacus putaoensis (through skulls and skin are being corroborated by genetic testing) is one of the most significant findings of the survey and this will enhance the deer’s geographical range by 1.5 times. During the survey we obtained evidence (skulls and skin) of six Leaf Deer – two from Thanamir at the base of the Saramati mountain Villager with Leaf Deer skull and four from Vonstuvon. Interviews with villagers seem to indicate that Leaf Deer is becoming increasingly difficult to find in the last few years – though they still hunt the animal. Adult males as well as females show wounds on one or both ears (we observed this in Thanamir specimens), which indicate both males as well as females possibly defend territories. Urgent attention is needed to find out more about status of Leaf Deer and conservation of the species in Nagaland. Intensive camera trapping along the eastern border of Nagaland will add more knowledge of the distribution of the species in Nagaland. Background The Leaf Muntjac, Leaf Deer or Putao Muntjac (Muntiacus putaoensis) is a small species of muntjac. It was discovered in 1997 by eminent wildlife biologist Alan Rabinowitz then with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) during his field study in the isolated Naungmung Township in Myanmar. Hunters knew of the species and called it the Leaf Deer because its body could be completely wrapped by a single large leaf. Anticipating its existence in neighboring Jairampur Forest Division of Changlang District, Arunachal Pradesh, India, a team led by Aparajita Datta of the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) confirmed the presence of Leaf Deer during field surveys conducted in 2002 (Datta et al 2003). This is amongst the smallest known species of muntjacs (mean adult body mass 12 kg), at half the size of the Indian muntjac M. muntjak (22–29 kg). So far, the Indian muntjac is the only muntjac species known to occur in the Indian subcontinent. Reference: Datta A, Pansa J, Madhusudan MD, Mishra C (2003) Discovery of the Leaf Deer Muntiacus putaoensis in Arunachal Pradesh: an addition to the large mammals of India. Curr Sci 84:101–102 Rabinowitz AR, Myint T, Khaing ST, Rabinowitz S (1999) Description of the leaf deer (Muntiacus putaoensis), a new species of muntjac from northern Myanmar. J Zool 249:427–435

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Fakim

Location:

Team visited:

Shashank Dalvi, Anup BP, Priya Singh, Nisarg Prakash and Tsutenmew

Dates visited:

24th May – 5th June

Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary

GPS Coordinates:

25°49’6.78”N, 94°58’28.44”E

District:

Kiphire

Introduction • • • •

One of Nagaland’s wildlife sanctuaries. In March 1980, the State Government bought 64 acres of land from Fakim village Total area of 642 hectares High elevation zone (surveyed area between 2000-2400 m) with valleys and ridges along Indo-Myanmar border • Habitat – Evergreen forest

Recommendations 1. Immediate ban on hunting needs to be implemented within the Protected Area. Fakim will definitely bounce back if it is made a “no-hunting” area with definate commitment from the villagers. 2. Forest department needs to establish its presence within the Sanctuary to control hunting. This can be done by deploying personnel at the neighbouring villages of Fakim and Vongtsuvong along with a field-station within the Protected Area.

Skulls from a hunter’s bounty. A common sight.

16


Fakim

3. Large scale conservation awareness regarding the existence of the Protected Area, its geographical boundaries and its significance needs to be created. Simultaneously, the local communities need to be acquainted with the existence of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and be informed that hunting is illegal. The importance of biodiversity conservation also needs to be established. Village elders, pastors, doctors, teachers and youth organisation members should be motivated into propagating conservation awareness in the region. 4. Employment opportunities need to be created in the region to reduce the dependence of local communities on hunting and timber extraction. This can be done by generating alternate employment opportunities through creation of selfhelp groups and promoting eco-tourism in the area. However, in the latter case, a threshold should be determined for the number of tourists visiting the area each season of the year to prevent negative impacts of tourist activities. 5. The region hosts a high diversity of flora and requires an immediate floral assessment. 6. Intensive biodiversity survey with high camera-trapping effort is required in the area to monitor its mammalian fauna. However, this exercise needs to be conducted in dry season.

Threats 1. Hunting: Even though there is no logging pressure inside the PA there is immense hunting pressure (for large mammals) from at least 2 villages -- Fakim and Vongtsuvong). The area has no closed season with high hunting pressure throughout the year. Species such as Barking Deer, Wild Pig and non-human primates are most frequently killed for subsistence purpose; while Asiatic Black Bear is commonly hunted for bile. Animal parts such as bear bile, furs and skins are occasionally sold to buyers from Myanmar and more frequently to traders in Dimapur. The most common mode of hunting is with 12-bore guns and home-made cartridges. However, trapping and snaring too is common. Almost every house visited in Vongtsuvong and Fakim villages (in the neighbourhood of the Wildlife Sanctuary) had many animal skulls displayed (maximum in one house being 155) including stuffed birds such as the Wreathed Hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus). Also, the greatest market demand for animal parts both from Fakim and Saramati come from Myanmar.

Wild Dogs or Dhole

Hill Partridge

17


Fakim

2. Jhumming: The entire landscape around the protected area, around Vongtsuvong, Fakim, Thanamir and Penkim villages is scarred by jhum fields. While most of these fields are on the periphery of the protected area, encroachment into the sanctuary is likely with passage of time unless Forest Department personnel begin to monitor the area regularly. 3. Inadequate presence of the Forest Department: During the period of the survey, no forest department personnel were seen anywhere within the sanctuary or in the neighbouring villages. Similarly, no infrastructure of any kind suggests that protection measures are attempted within the sanctuary. Of the six nights spent by the research team within the sanctuary, gun-shots were heard on three nights and one day. 4. Lack of conservation awareness: All household heads (n=10) spoken to in Vongtsuvong village (closest village to the sanctuary) were unsure of the legal status of the Wildlife Sanctuary and its boundaries. Similarly, all visitors to the area from Myanmar (they travel to Pungro to obtain daily requirements), had no idea of the legal status of the sanctuary and of prohibitions on hunting in India. 5. Lack of education and employment opportunities: The geographical location and mountainous terrain of the region makes it less conducive to developmental activities. Thus, most youth are school drop-outs and depend entirely on revenue earned out of jhum. Therefore, hunting of animals such as bear for its commercial value along with timber extraction becomes an important source of revenue.

Monocled Cobra road-kill

Rodent for the pot

Barking Deer

Hunter

18


Fakim

Biodiversity Findings Absence of carnivore signs is slightly worrying but given more time and trap nights, a clearer picture would emerge. Mammals 1. Direct: Dhole or Indian Wilddog (Cuon alpinus) – An earlier birding group saw and photographed at least four individuals just outside Fakim Wildlife Sactuary. Capped Langur, Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta ), Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel (Callosciurus pygerythrus), Malayan Giant Squirrel (Ratufa bicolour) 2. Tracks: Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjak), unidentified species of small cat 3. Pellets: Barking Deer 4. Calls: Barking Deer, Rhesus Macaque, Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel 5. Camera trap: Barking Deer, unidentified rodent species 6. Skulls and skins: Barking Deer, Wild Pig (Sus scrofa), Serow sp (Naemorhedus sumatraensis rubidus), Rhesus Macaque, Stump-tailed Macaque (Macaca arctoides), Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), langur sp., Sambar (R. unicolor), porcupine sp., Red Giant Flying Squirrel (Petaurista petaurista), unidentified large flying Squirrel sp. (Petaurista sp.), unidentified viverrids and mustelids 7. Freshly killed or in the process of being persecuted in front of us: Rhesus Macaque, Barking Deer, Red Giant Flying Squirrel Reptiles Bella Ratsnake Elaphe bella: First record for India

Bella Rat Snake Maculophis bella We stumbled upon this beautiful Bella Rat Snake Maculophis bella, formerly referred to as Elaphe leonardi close to Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary which turned out to be new species for India. This small snake (2½-3 feet, 80-90 cm) appears to be a montane species as it can be found at higher elevation like 15002000m. This species is known from northern Myanmar and western Yunnan province, China.

19


Shatuza

Location:

Shatuza

GPS Coordinates:

25°40’42.71”N, 94°45’44.31”E

District:

Phek

Priya Singh, Dipti Humraskar, Swapna N., Team visited: Anaki Pfithu and Pelevisie Puzieu Dates visited: 6th – 14th June

Introduction 1. In December 2010, thirteen villages of Phek district decided to impose a complete year-round ban on hunting in the Shatuya Forest, which is located in proximity to these villages. The area south of Shatuya Forest is separated from the southern forests and jhum fields by the Zhipu-Shatuza-Laruri road and has a seasonal ban on hunting (during non-breeding season) for six months of the year (April to September). 2. Total area: Unknown 3. Altitude ranges from approximately 1500 m to 2000 m 4. Habitat- Warm temperate forest type

Recommendations 1. A complete ban on hunting within the Shatuya Forest needs to be implemented along with strict penalty for violating closed-season laws in the area outside the precincts of the “no-hunting zone”. 2. Strict regulations should be imposed to ensure that ammunition for guns is not easily available. Similarly, in order to discourage people from making ammunition at home, awareness campaigns should be conducted discussing the un-lawfulness of the activity and the potential punishment for such crime. Also, the process of firearm license procurement should be made more rigid and fewer licenses given-out in each village.

Shatuza landscape

20


Shatuza

3. While the importance of the Waziho cement plant and its ability to create employment opportunities for the region cannot be undermined. Eco-sensitive technology should be implemented to ensure that neither the road network nor the quarrying threatens the ecology of this area. 4. Regular wildlife monitoring with the help of local youth organisations and local NGOs should be conducted to collect base-line data on wildlife in the area. 5. Conservation education should be implemented in schools and religious heads such as pastors should be encouraged to discourage people from hunting. 6. The region holds tremendous potential for adventure, nature and cultural tourism. Thus, eco-tourism initiatives such as bird-watching, fresh-water fishing (catch and release) and hiking trails (using existing trails, refrain from clearing more vegetation or creating concrete trails or steps) may be introduced. However, adequate thought and expert advice must be sought on ways to ensure that such activities are ecofriendly and in sync with conservation objectivities. 7. Alternate means of livelihood opportunities must be developed through initiatives such as local self help groups, establishment of aviaries, piggeries, poultry farms and fisheries. Workshops by the state animal husbandry department could be conducted to make people aware of such opportunities. 8. Orchards and vegetable gardens in the region could also generate employment opportunities by providing income. 9. A rescue and rehabilitation centre needs to be established in the area for wild animals, with modern facilities and experienced veterinarians to deal with rescued, orphaned or injured animals which can eventually be released back into the wild when considered fit to survive without human aide. Leopard Cat

Spotted Linsang

Himalayan Palm Civet

21


Shatuza

Campylotes histrionicus

Unidentified agamid

Threats 1. Hunting: Hunting is prevalent in the region despite a unanimous decision taken by the 13 villages around Shatuya Forest to impose a complete ban on hunting in the region. The research team heard gun-shots during the closed season while conducting the survey. It is thus imperative for the state government to support youth organisations trying to introduce the concepts of “no hunting zone” and “closedseason” in the region. 2. Timber extraction: Timber extraction started in this region post the construction of roads in mid 1990s. This has resulted in vast scale extraction of valuable timber, primarily, hoolong, from the forest, with most forested area present today comprising of secondary growth forest. It is thus imperative to impose a ban on any further timber extraction in the region. Some people residing in the area believe that deforestation in the region has not just affected local water supply but has also brought about a rapid change in climate with no snow-fall in the region for the whole of the last decade. 3. Lack of education and employment opportunities: Most youth in the area are school drop-outs with no employment opportunities. Jhumming, road construction activities and hunting seem to be the only livelihood options for most people. 4. Impacts of the cement factory: The only cement factory of Nagaland at Wizeho has attracted a large network of newly constructed roads in this area. This along with the limestone quarrying in the region could adversely impact conservation initiatives in the region. 22


Shatuza

Biodiversity Findings Mammals 1. Direct: Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjak), Large Indian Civet (Viverra zibetha), Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta), Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel, unidentified shrew and unidentified rodent species. 2. Tracks: Barking Deer and Wild Pig (Sus scrofa), small cat species and Asiatic Black Bear 3. Pellets: Barking Deer, Serow (Capricornis sp.) and Wild Pig 4. Calls: Barking Deer, Rhesus Macaque and Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel 5. Camera trap: Barking Deer, Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), Spotted Linsang (Prionodon pardicolor), Himalayan Palm Civet (Paguma larvata), Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel, unidentified shrew and unidentified rodent species 6. Skulls and skins: Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Sambar (Rusa unicolor), Barking Deer, Serow, Wild Pig, Stump-tailed Macaque (Macaca arctoides), Rhesus Macaque, langur sp., porcupine sp. and other unidentified mustelids and viverrids. Leaf Deer? 7. In captivity: Leopard Cat kitten and unidentified mole species Fresh Asiatic Black Bear pugmarks

Mole captured to be consumed

Ground orchid

Shatuza children

23


Khonoma

Location:

Khonoma

GPS Coordinates:

25°38’37.26”N, 94° 2’2.14”E

District:

Kohima

Team visited:

Dipti Humraskar, Viral Mistry, Swapna N., Moaakum Kichu, Pelevisie Puzieu and Rokohebi Kuotsu

Dates visited: 8th – 14th May

Introduction 1. Khonoma village council declared the village as a community protected area ten years ago. 2. The Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary, an area of ~25sq. km. is also located in Khonoma. Hunting or collection of any forest produce from the sanctuary is strictly prohibited and violators are penalized to deter such activities. 3. The Khonoma Youth Organisation is an active body working towards conservation of wildlife and its monitoring in the entire Khonoma jurisdiction. 4. Total area 25 sq. km 5. Altitude ranging between ~1400 - 2000 m ASL (taking into account only the area surveyed) 6. Vegetation – Temperate to sub-alpine evergreen forest. There are several alder plantations around the village which act as the main source of firewood thus reducing dependence on wild trees.

Pareas macularis

24


Khonoma

Recommendations 1. Given the initiative of the village council in imposing a ban on hunting and declaration of Khonoma as a community protected forest, it is essential to laud their effort and involve them in a long term monitoring and conservation project to sustain their interest and enthusiasm. 2. Awareness campaigns and an intensive training programme in basic wildlife survey and monitoring techniques for the youth will prove a vital tool for conservation and prevention of violations of the existing ban. 3. Mapping of the community protected area is essential to aide monitoring and conservation. 4. Compensation scheme: In order to prevent retaliatory killing and bounty hunting, a good and effective compensation scheme needs to be implemented. 5. Eco-tourism: Responsible eco-tourism for butterflies, birds as well as herpetofauna should be encouraged with the involvement of local people. 6. Central body: A central body (similar to the Angami Youth Organization) should be established constituting representative members from villages across the state who can organize meetings to discuss the wildlife issues in their respective villages and share their experiences.

Ferret Badger

Blue Pansy

Beetle

Orchid

25


Khonoma

Skulls displayed in a house

Threats 1. Jhum - Proximally located jhum fields attract wild animals like porcupines and Barking Deer which could be targeted in retaliation to crop raiding. 2. Hunting: Several skulls and some skins were observed in the village suggesting the history of hunting from the village. Though the ban on hunting has been imposed, some people still violate the law and occasionally hunt wild animals. 3. Bounty hunting: Despite the ban, bounty hunting does exist in the village mainly targeted at wild dogs which often lift Mithun calves. 4. Road: A motorable road exists from Kohima up to Peren. However, due to poor condition of the road, there is a proposal for construction of a better and wider metal road. This will have a grave impact on the wildlife of the entire stretch allowing free movement of traffic which could lead to difficulty in monitoring and increase in instances of road kills.

Marbled Cat skin displayed outside a house in Khonoma

Yellow-bellied Weasel skin

26


Khonoma Biodiversity Findings Mammals 1. Direct: Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak (call), Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel Callosciurus pygerythrus, Himalayan Striped Squirrel sp., Orange-bellied Squirrel Dremomys lokriah and Mus spp. 2. Camera traps: Ferret Badger Melogale sp., weasel Mustela sp., Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel and unidentified rodents 3. Signs and tracks: Barking Deer, porcupine sp., Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus and small cat sp. 4. Skulls and skins: Serow sp. Capricornis sp (skull), Barking Deer (skull), Wild Pig Sus scrofa (skull), Stump-tailed Macaque Macaca arctoides (skull), Asiatic Black Bear (skull), large flying squirrel sp. (tail), Marbled Cat Pardofelis marmorata (skin) and Back-striped Weasel Mustela strigidorsa (skin).  eptiles R Red-necked Keelback (Rhabdophis subminiatus), Green Rat Snake (Ptyas nigromarginata), Boulenger’s Striped Keelback (Amphiesma parallelum), Jerdon’s Calotes (Calotes jerdoni) and skink (Asymblepharus sp.) Spotted Slug Snake (Pareas macularius) from Khonoma: First colour images of the snake from India and first record for India in long time.  mphibians A Megophrys sp., Rhacophorus taroensis, Bufo sp., Raorchestes sp. and some unidentified frogs. 27


Khonoma

Birds

Flavescent Bulbul Pycnonotus flavescens

Black-throated Prinia Prinia atrogularis (ssp. khasiana)

Red-faced Liocichla Liocichla phoenicea (ssp. bakeri)

Brown-capped Laughingthrush Ianthocincla austeni

Rusty-capped Fulvetta Alcippe dubia

Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus erythrocnemis

28


Khonoma

Mountain Bamboo Partridge Bambusicola fytchii

Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophrys

Cachar Wedge-billed Babbler Sphenocichla roberti

Naga Wren-Babbler Spelaeornis chocolatinus

Striped Laughingthrush Trochalopteron virgatum

29


Dzuleke

Location:

Dzuleke

GPS Coordinates:

25°37’13.48”N, 93°57’23.11”E

District:

Kohima

Team visited:

Dipti Humraskar, Viral Mistry, Swapna N., Pele, Roko, Vimezolie Terhuja, Vizokholie Meyase and Moaakum

Dates visited: 20th – 28th May

Introduction 1. A part of the forest has been declared as a Community Protected Area with a ban imposed on all kinds of extraction, namely hunting, logging, burning and collection of forest produce for over ten years since the year 2000 by the village community with strict penalties to deter people. Hunting in the protected area is permitted for ten days in a year during December; however, this period was further curbed last year and at present hunting is permitted only for two days during the New Year’s Eve. 2. Total area unknown 3. Altitude ranging between ~1700 – 2400 m ASL (taking into account only the area surveyed) 4. Vegetation – Semi Evergreen and Evergreen forests with bamboo and cane. Rhododendron present at higher elevations

Dzuleke landscape

30


Dzuleke

Recommendations 1. Intensive camera trapping for mammals in winter, birds and botanical survey (across seasons) is essential to assess the importance and success of initiatives by the communities. 2. A socio-economic study of all villages in and around the community protected area to estimate dependence on forest produce. 3. Mapping of the community protected area to aide in effective monitoring and conservation 4. Training of local students from the villages around such regions in basic wildlife survey and monitoring techniques and wildlife conservation. Organizing an intensive training program tailored to their requirements at an institute outside the state. 5. Immediate need to begin conservation awareness and education programs at Dzuleke and all villages and towns around the community protected area 6. Promotion of controlled and sensible eco-tourism to encourage the local populace towards wildlife conservation and provision of alternate livelihoods.

Small flying Squirrel species

8 ft long non-venomous Green Rat Snake

31


Dzuleke Small-clawed Otter pelt

Blyth’s Tragopan

Tail of large flying Squirrel species

Serow skulls

Wild Pig, macaque and Serow skulls

32


Dzuleke Jerdon’s Pit Viper freshly killed by 3-5 yr old boys in the village

Otter pelts and flying squirrel tail

Threats 1. Jhum: Mostly close to the village and few in number but given the proximity to the densely forested area, jhum fields are often visited by wild animals like Barking Deer, Himalayan crestless and Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupines, Wild Pig, Asiatic Black Bear and at times macaques, which is likely to result in retaliatory measures by people despite the ban on hunting 2. Hunting: Skins and skulls (mostly old) of some mammalian species like Serow, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Stump-tailed Macaques, Small-clawed Otters, flying squirrel, Asiatic Black Bear, etc. were seen in houses suggesting the occurrence of hunting. However the intensity of this activity could not be estimated given that our visit didn’t coincide with the hunting season in the village which is December. 3. Firewood collection: Non commercial, mainly for domestic usage only. 4. NTFP: Collection of leaves, fruits, tubers, bamboo, cane, mushrooms, etc. for non commercial purpose, mainly for household consumption. 5. Road: A road connecting several settlements of varying sizes between Khonoma and Peren already exists. However, due to bad condition of the existing road, it is currently being renovated and widened (+7m on either side) which will probably increase vehicular traffic and accessibility to the area and can prove a potential threat allowing free and easy movement of people from outside into the area. For instance, shortly after the team left the area, a Common Palm Civet was found dead by the villagers. According to the local field assistants, the individual was shot by outsiders.

Clouded Leopard skin displayed in the Morung in Dolong ~8 kms from Dzuleke

33


Dzuleke

Biodiversity Findings Mammals 1. Directly seen: Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, large flying squirrel species, small flying squirrel species, Wild Pig Sus scrofa, Serow sp Capricornis sp, Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel Callosciurus pygerythrus, Himalayan Striped Squirrel and Palla’s or Orange-bellied Squirrel. 2. Camera traps: Himalayan Crestless Porcupine Hystrix brachyura, Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine Atherurus macrourus and unidentified rodents 3. Signs and tracks: Barking Deer, Stump-tailed Macaque Macaca arctoides, Wild Pig, porcupine sp., Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Serow sp and small cat sp. 4. Captive animals: Stump-tailed Macaque (captured by a young boy in a Nepali village approximately 15 kms. from Dzuleke where hunting is not banned) 5. Skulls and skins: Serow sp (skull), Barking Deer (skull), Wild Pig (skull), Stumptailed Macaque (skull), Small-clawed Otter Amblonyx cinereus (skins), Asiatic Black Bear (fur), large flying squirrel species (tail) and Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa (skin, in Dolong village approximately 8 kms. from Dzuleke)  eptiles R Green Rat Snake Ptyas nigromarginata, Himalayan Keelback Rhabdophis himalayanus, Venning’s Keelback Amphiesma venningi (second record for India), Amphiesma nuchalis, Jerdon’s Pit Viper Trimeresurus jerdoni, Spot-tailed Kukri Oligodon dorsalis, Mandarin Trinket Euprepiophis mandarinus, Oriental Snake Trachischium sp.  mphibians A Odorana sp., Hyla sp., Rhacophorus taroensis., Megophrys sp., and some species yet to be identified. Butterflies mud-puddling

Dusky Labyrinth

8 ft long dead green rat snake

stump tailed Macaque young meant for the pot

34


Benreu

Location:

Benreu

GPS Coordinates:

25°34’13.22”N, 93°51’25.99”E

Team visited:

District:

Peren

Dates visited: 28th May – 4th June

Dipti Humraskar, Swapna N., Pele and Roko

Introduction 1. Similar to most villages across Nagaland, the hunting season in Benreu is open for six months of the year beginning from the winter months till April. 2. Benreu is among the last few remaining villages that still practices animism. 3. The village is located along the Mt. Pauna mountain range which is the third highest mountain in Nagaland. 4. Total area unknown 5. Altitude ranging between ~1071 - 2200m ASL (taking into account only the area surveyed) 6. Vegetation – Semi-evergreen, evergreen and oak forest

Benreu landscape

35


Benreu

Recommendations 1. Given the level of pressure on wildlife in this region, an extensive conservation education programme should be implemented to educate locals about the ecological significance of biodiversity and the importance of conserving it. 2. An immediate and strict ban on hunting should also be imposed to curb further loss of fauna and habitat 3. Intensive camera trapping for mammals in winter, birds survey and botanical survey (across seasons) should be initiated 4. A socio-economic study of the village to estimate the dependence on forest produce 5. Training local youth in basic wildlife survey and monitoring techniques 6. Exploring responsible eco-tourism opportunities to encourage locals to conserve wildlife and provide a steady source of income.

Loggin truck seen between Dzuleke and Benreu

36


Benreu

Threats 1. Hunting: Several skulls were observed in the Morung (clan house) situated in the village, suggesting the occurrence and scale of hunting. The absence of mammal captures on camera traps and that of fresh tracks and signs, also indicates the impact of the six months open hunting season practiced in the village. On the contrary, the same duration of survey done in Dzuleke resulted in photographic captures as well as observation of several fresh tracks and signs of mammals. 2. Jhum: Shifting cultivation is extensively practiced in the region along with paddy. The jhum fields are frequently visited by mammals such as porcupines and Barking Deer which may face retaliatory killing for destroying crop. 3. Proximity to urban areas: Peren and Jalukie towns are located close to Benreu as a result of which regular vehicular movement including logging trucks was observed near Benreu 4. Firewood collection: non commercial mainly for domestic usage Hornbill beak

5. NTFP: Collection of leaves, fruits, tubers, bamboo, cane, etc. for non commercial mainly for household consumption. 6. Lack of a community initiated ban to regulate levels of extraction and usage of forest produce Peacock Pheasant feathers

Moth

Asiatic Black Bear skin used for a traditional shield

37


Benreu

Biodiversity Findings Mammals 1. Direct: Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Himalayan Palm Civet Paguma larvata, Hoary-bellied Himalayan Squirrel Callosciurus pygerythrus, Himalayan Striped Squirrel and Pallas’s or Orange-bellied Squirrel 2. Camera traps: None 3. Signs and tracks: Barking Deer, Serow sp Capricornis sp, Sambar Rusa unicolor, porcupine sp. and small cat sp. 4. Skulls and skins: Serow sp(skull), Barking Deer (skull), Wild Pig Sus scrofa (skull), Sambar (skull), macaque sp. (skull), Gaur Bos gaurus (skull), Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis (skin) and Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus (skin) 5. Other: Bengal Slow Loris Nycticebus bengalensis (one individual was found electrocuted on May 28, 2011 (morning of the day on which the team arrived) however it was consumed on the same day and there were no body parts remaining to be examined or photographed thus species identification was based on detailed description provided by the villagers and confirmation through presentation of clear colour photographs to the villagers)  eptiles R Khasi Hills Bent-toed Gecko Cyrtodactylus khasiensis. No snakes seen.  mphibians A Raorchestes sp., Polypedates sp. and Rhacophorus bipunctatus

Leopard cat skin mounted on a stick to scare chicken

Atlas moth

38


Benreu

Birds

The house in Benreu where the Dark-rumped Swift is said to breed Grey-sided Thrush, victim of a hunter’s catapult

Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus

Spot-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis guttaticollis

39


Intanki

Location:

Intanki National Park

GPS Coordinates:

25°45’57”N, 93°31’47”E

Dziesekhou Dzuvichu, Girish Punjabi, Team visited: Suman Jumani, Akum Jamir, Samcharen, and Toshi

District:

Peren

Dates visited: 22nd – 31st May

Introduction • • • •

Nagaland’s only national park declared on 3rd March, 1993 Lowland Tropical Semi-evergreen forest Total area of 20,202 hectares Low elevation area bordering Dhansiri Reserve Forest in the state of Assam

Recommendations 1) Forest department staff is young, enthusiastic and energetic, but seem to be uneasy due to the instability in the region. There is a need to provide them with arms to protect Intanki against poachers and the logging mafia. While the illegal dwellers carry weapons, the forest department staff is not adequately armed. 2) Forest department staff is posted outside the core area of Intanki; instead they should have some permanent protection camps inside the park. 3) Foremost, there needs to be some solution to tackle two illegal villages – the Inavi and the Naga united. The Inavi villagers have been allowed to settle down in ‘Hazadisa’, approximately 15 km from the present illegal Inavi/ Hevuto village1.

Deforestation

40


Intanki

4) Forest department staff in Intanki is well qualified and there can be serious scope for scientific wildlife research which is bound to help them in evaluating management actions. Very importantly the park needs to be extensively mapped and areas with good presence of wildlife demarcated, so that their protection can be prioritized. 5) It is also important to provide more facilities such as light weight tents, good rain gear, footwear, night lamps etc to the field staff, since access into Intanki is difficult and such provisions would also ensure lesser extractions from the forest to prepare makeshift camps. Also for patrolling to be more effective, the forest guards need more effective modes of transport (perhaps horses) as jeeps are not always useful, especially during the monsoons. 6) The adjoining Dhansiri Reserve Forest in Assam is continuous with Intanki, and therefore inter-state co-operation by building an anti-poaching/ anti-logging network may go a long way. 7) Education in village schools (especially in Baisumpuikum village) around the park is essential in creating awareness and promoting conservation of the forest and its denizens. It is very important to explain to the village communities the consequence of forest degradation, especially how that may affect their livelihood. 8) It is also extremely vital to enlighten staff about the forest ecosystem and develop an anti-hunting sentiment, since only then can they be expected to protect the forest.

41


Intanki

Birds

A hunter’s bag, Intanki National Park

Chestnut Thrush

Slender-billed Oriole

Spotted Wren Babbler

42


Intanki

Threats 1) Lack of political will: There is a clear lack of political will from the state and the centre to protect Intanki national park. A number of encroachments are present, even though some of the illegal dwellers have been evicted earlier (some apparently 27 times) they have repeatedly returned. The forest department seems to be waiting for the court order to evict them again. 2) Hunting and logging: Intanki as a protected enclave is extremely important to harbor biodiversity given that there is an unsubstantial demand for wild meat. We found at least four hunting camps and two snares inside the park - reason enough to believe that hunting still happens relentlessly even with the presence of department staff. We also found large areas that were completely logged within the park. Hunting and logging mafia seem to surreptitiously operate in Intanki and large-bodied herbivores such as Sambar Rusa unicolor, Wild Pig Sus scrofa and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjac are locally very threatened by extirpation.

Hunters and Trappers at work

43


Intanki

Biodiversity Findings Absence of carnivore signs is slightly worrying but given more time and trap nights, a clearer picture would emerge. Mammals 1. Direct: Asiatic Elephant Elephas maximus, Wild Pig Sus scrofa, Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus?, Sambar Rusa unicolor, Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine Atherurus macrourus, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjac. Sambar Rusa unicolor, Asiatic Brushtailed Porcupine Atherurus macrourus 2. Tracks: Asiatic elephant Elephas maximus, Wild Pig Sus scrofa, unidentified species of small cat 3. Pellets: Sambar Rusa unicolor, Asiatic Elephant Elephas maximus, unidentified species of small cat 4. Calls: Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjac 5. Camera trap: Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine Atherurus macrourus, unidentified species 6. Skulls and skins: Wild Pig Sus scrofa, Capped Langur Trachypithecus pileatus, Sambar Rusa unicolor, Asiatic Brush-tailed porcupine Atherurus macrourus 7. Freshly killed or in the process of being persecuted in front of us: Common Monitor Varanus bengalensis Reptiles King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah, Eastern Cat Snake Boiga gokul, Assam Snail-eater Pareas monticola, Water Monitor Varanus salvator

Hunters near Intanki

44


Singphan

Location:

Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary

GPS Coordinates:

26°56’0.40”N, 94°54’4.20”E

District:

Mon

Team visited:

Viral Mistry, Dipti Humraskar, Swapna N., Moaakum, Ponglan Konyak, Hawat Konyak, Mongai Konyak

Dates visited: 15th – 18th May

Introduction 1. Declared as Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary in December 2009 2. Area of 2357 hectares 3. Low lying area ranging between ~ 100 – 300 m ASL 4. Habitat – Sub Tropical Moist Deciduous Bamboo dominated

Recommendations 1. A complete ban on coal mining should be imposed immediately 2. The motorable mining road and all footpaths should be closed to civilians/villagers and only be used by forest staff for patrolling and monitoring purposes. Better transport facilities should be provided to the villages encouraging them to use the alternate road in place of the road passing through the forest.

Bengal Slow Loris from Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary

45


Singphan

3. Given the level of disturbance, it was difficult for the team to deploy camera traps. The restriction of traffic and movement of people will also aide in conducting an exhaustive and effective camera trapping exercise for mammals in the winter season and other floral and faunal surveys across seasons. 4. Immediate need for conservation education and awareness workshops for local people is a prerequisite as the wildlife sanctuary is not going to be a success story without their cooperation. 5. Identification of local youth to be engaged in conservation awareness initiatives for long-term benefits 6. Strengthening forest staff - Training and awareness programs for forest department staff should be carried out to enable them to monitor wildlife and natural resources of the area better. Select staff can also be sent to well protected areas like Kaziranga (Assam) to gain firsthand experience on wildlife management and conservation 7. An intensive survey (camera trapping and other) in the winter and a study focused on elephants looking at habitat utilization, ranging patterns and assessing conflict is essential to prioritise conservation efforts for the sanctuary.

Threats 1. Coal mining: Despite being declared a wildlife sanctuary, coal mining is rampant in adjoing areas with heavy traffic through the sanctuary due to mining trucks and vehicles to ferry labour. The access road to the mine located in the upper Tiru region cuts through the sanctuary allowing free movement of people and vehicles from early Colour Sargent

Rhacophorus bipunctatus

Pallas’s Squirrel

46


Singphan

morning to as late as 10pm. Labour employed at the mine include several people from across the state as well as from other parts of the country. 2. Human presence: Apart from the road being used by the mining company, villagers from upper and lower Tiru villages also use the road and several footpaths cut through the forest to get to markets at the Nagaland- Assam state border. Impacts of this high level of disturbance can be seen on the habitat along the road as well as footpaths cut in the forest. 3. Human-elephant conflict: Existence of elephants in and around the sanctuary often lead to conflict between the animal and humans either by entry into the villages or crop raiding. On one occasion during the survey, elephant trumpets were heard followed by gunshots. Upon enquiring with the local assistants we were informed that elephants visit crop fields often at Tiru village and in retaliation local people fire into the air to deter them. Interviews with elders at lower Tiru village later confirmed human elephant conflict however the intensity of the situation could not be gauged.

Mining truck on the access road to the coal mine

47


Singphan

4. Lack of strict monitoring and patrolling by forest department: During the survey duration, patrolling by the forest department staff was not observed nor did we see any anti-poaching camps set up anywhere in the sanctuary. Therefore, there remains a doubt about protection and monitoring measures within the forest considering the fact that there is regular movement of vehicles and people along existing roads and footpaths in the sanctuary. 5. Proximity to state boundary: Without strict protective measures access to markets across the border becomes very easy thus endangering wildlife and natural resources in the area

Biodiversity Findings Mammals 1. Direct: Bengal slow loris Nycticebus bengalensis, Asian elephants Elephas maximus, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Pallas’s Squirrel Callosciurus erythraeus, Hoarybellied Himalayan Squirrel Callosciurus pygerythrus and Himalayan Striped Squirrel 2. Tracks and signs: Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Asian Elephants Elephas maximus and Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla (old burrow) 3. Camera traps: Nil  eptiles R White-lipped Pit Viper Trimeresurus albolabris, Assam Snail-eater Pareas monticola and Himalayan Keelback Rhabdophis himalayanus (dead)  mphibians A Polypedates sp., Fejervarya sp., Rhacophorus bipunctatus, Minervarya sp.

Team at rest

48


Mokokchung

Mokokchung The team spent a morning in the Mokokchung town and visited a couple of households to collect some data on hunting. During the short duration the team found a captive pair of common Palm Civets Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, Great Barbet Megalaima virens, dead raptor and bulbuls, skulls of Serow, Barking Deer, Sambar and Wild Pig and a report of one Slow Loris found in a village backyard in November, 2010. Also, during the travel from Singphan to Mokokchung, the team found several snakes on the road – both dead and alive.

Animal cage

Bulbul head and Lantern Fly

Serow and Sambar heads displayed as trophies

49


Snakes Trimeresurus albolabris, Singphan

Amphiesma venningi, Dzuleke

Pareas monticola, Singphan

Trimeresurus albolabris, Singphan

50


Snakes Oligodon dorsalis, Dzuleke

Trimeresurus albolabris, Singphan

Trimeresurus monticola, Khonoma

Trimeresurus sp., enroute Shatuza to Kohima

Rhabdophis nuchalis, Dzuleke

51


Reptiles Calotes jerdoni, Dzuleke

Skink sp., Shatuza

52


Frogs Rhacophorus sp., Benreu

Hyla sp., Khonoma

Amalops sp., Benreu

R. bipunctatus, Singphan

53


Frogs Hyla sp., Khonoma

R. bipunctatus, Benreu

R. bipunctatus, Benreu

Raorchestes sp., Benreu

R. bipunctatus, Benreu

Rhacophorus taroensis,_Khonoma

R. bipunctatus,_Benreu

54


Birds Chestnut-vented Nuthatch

Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus Atrogularis

Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra

Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae

55


Birds Burmese Shrike Lanius collurioides

Brown Bush Warbler

Brown Bush Warbler

Naga Wren Babbler

Scaly Laughingthrush

White-browed Fulvetta

White-browed Shortwing

Yellow-browed Tesia

56


Birds Ashy Laughingthrush Ianthocincla merulina

White-browed Laughingthrush garrulax sannio

Black-faced Laughingthrush

Yellow-throated Laughingthrush Dryonastes galbanus

57


Captive animals underline the urgent need for an animal rescue centre

Leopard Cat kitten brought home by a hunter after killing his mother.

Captive Slow Loris found at Mokukchong

Captive Common Palm Civets


Project Co-ordinator Bano Haralu Scientific Advisor Dr. Ajith Kumar (NCBS) Scientific Team: Viral Mistry, Dipti Humraskar, Shashank Dalvi, Swapna N., Girish A Punjabi, Suman Jumani, Aamod Zambre, Anup BP, Vishnupriya S., Priya Singh, Nisarg Prakash, Moaakum, Dziesekhou Dzuvichu Support Team: Tsutenmew, Pele, Roko, Anaki Pfithu, Mezakholie, Ponglan Konyak, Hawat Konyak, Mongai Konyak, Toshi Ozukum, Akumtemjen, Chiv Lam, Semcharen, Bendangwapang Ao, Pongliichem Sangtam, Namganbi Nring, Kilangmeren Ao, Opinath Bibul, Longstuthong Kikon, Dr.Simon, Dr. M Kire Nagaland Biodiversity & Conservation Programme Kuda Village, Phaipijung BPO, Dimapur - 797112, Nagaland Designed by Gaurangana Sood

Nagaland Biodiversity Survey Summary  

This report summarizes a state-wide biodiversity survey undertaken by a team of 11 scientists of the National Centre for Biological Sciences...

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