After learning that Sailam village in Aizawl district is a hotspot for different species of birds a group of ornithologists has adopted the village and has constructed a birding spot for enthused bird watchers.
Sailam village, about 76 kilometers from Aizawl, is remotely snuggled inside a virgin forest. The range of bird species there is amazing. Since long, birds in Mizoram are shy to come out due to fear of traps and hunters.
With the initiative of local birders, Sailam villagers formed a society called Sailam Ecological Conservation Society which has been working at educating children and villagers about the importance of the conservation of their flora and fauna.
“With the hope of setting a model village in the field of bio-diversity conservation through eco-tourism in Mizoram and in order to stop people from killing wild animals and birds, we feel that it is time to provide people with the idea that they can reap benefits from conservations,” Kuka, a bird watcher and a part time wildlife photographer said.
“We approached the society and laid down the plan for the establishment of the first tourist based birding spot in Mizoram. We hope that the villagers will encourage others to stop hunting birds and wild animals. Though a lot has been accomplished, we still have to ensure its sustainability,” he said.
The project, christened Sailam Birding Spot Project took shape and despite many hurdles, work on a tourist rest-house called jungle hut was started. The idea being that the funds collected from the rest-house will flow to the villagers /community with no middlemen or government intervention.
“It could perhaps be one of the few such experiments in this part, being done, solely by private individuals to motivate villagers in the field of conservation,” Kuka said.
With the hope of conserving the ecology and wildlife of Mizoram this group of ornithologist prayed that the Sailam Birding Hotspot project would motivate other villages in Mizoram to protect their environment and wildlife and show them that they could reap benefits from conservation by becoming custodians of nature.
The Sailam Birding Hotspot project is operational now and the group will shortly start taking bookings for the first bird watching season from Sep 2018 to April 2019.
The birders said the forest around Sailam village housed hundreds of exotic species of birds such as Velvet Fronted Nuthatch, White bellied Erpornis, Small Niltava, Black Eared Shrike Babbler, Frogmouth, Firetailed Sunbird, Black Redstart, Tiaga Flycatcher, Verditer flycatcher among others