Advertisement

GeoJournal

pp 1–12 | Cite as

Bird conservation from obscurity to popularity: a case study of two bird species from Northeast India

  • Ambika AiyaduraiEmail author
  • Sayan Banerjee
Article
  • 29 Downloads

Abstract

This paper discusses how competing value systems of different interest groups, help the obscure and lesser known species to become a part of a global conservation project. We analyse two community-based conservation initiatives where two littleknown bird species Bugun liocichla (Liocichla bugunorum) and Amur falcon (Falco amurensis) have transformed the state of the landscape with a series of initiatives by Governments, NGOs and scientists. Bugun liocichla is found in only one location of Arunachal Pradesh and its population is currently as low as 14 individuals. Amur falcon is a migratory bird of prey that visits Nagaland in millions to roost for 2 months. This paper particularly, focuses on how the idea of conservation NGOs is introduced at the community level and how particular bird species gain popularity, locally and internationally. Using the notion of value, we examine how and why species gain specific value/s when the conservation projects are designed and implemented in community-based conservation projects in Northeast India. Based on ethnographic research, we have used semi-structured interviews and participant observation to gather information from key informants. We found that these bird species attain specific cultural, commercial and conservation values depending on various ecological, economic and social factors. In the process of conservation, the birds also become ‘development’ icons for the landscape. We argue that the two species have attained a ‘universal value’ attuned to the philosophies of global capitalist market and global conservation.

Keywords

Birds Local communities NGOs Values Nature conservation Eco-tourism Northeast India 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a Social Science Research Council Transregional Research Junior Scholar Fellowship with funds provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. We are grateful to the contributions made by local community members of Singchung and Pangti; Divisional Forest Officer, Sheragaon Forest Division, Mr Milo Tasser; Dr Ramana Athreya; Dr Nandini Velho and Chief Wildlife Warden, Nagaland, Mr Satya Prakash Tripathi in our research. We thank Ms Sonam and Dr Vikrant Jain of Earth Sciences, IITGN for their help with preparing the map of our study area.

Author Contribution

AA conceived and designed the study. SB did the fieldwork and collected data. Both authors participated in data analysis and interpretation, contributed substantially to manuscript development and revisions.

Funding

The research was funded by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and was carried out with the support of IITGN (RES/SSRC/HSS/_0223/1718/0001).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All ethical protocols related to interviews and observation was approved by IITGN ethics board.

References

  1. Afiff, S., & Lowe, C. (2008). Collaboration, conservation and community: Conversation between Suraya Afiff and Celia Lowe. In N. S. Sodhi, G. Acciaioli, M. Erb, & A. K. Tan (Eds.), Biodiversity and human livelihoods in protected areas: Case studies from the Malay Archipelago (pp. 153–164). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ainsworth, G. B., Fitzsimons, J. A., Weston, M. A., & Garnett, S. D. (2018). The culture of bird conservation: Australian stakeholder values regarding iconic, flagship and rare birds. Biodiversity Conservation, 27(2), 345–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aiyadurai, A. (2012). Bird hunting in Mishmi Hills of Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India. Indian Birds, 7(5), 134–137.Google Scholar
  4. Aiyadurai, A. (2016). Tigers are our brothers: Understanding human-nature relations in the Mishmi hills. Conservation and Society, 14(4), 305–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Athreya, R. (2006). A new species of Liocichla (Aves: Timaliidae) from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Indian Birds, 2(4), 82–94.Google Scholar
  6. Banerjee, A. (2012). The Bugun Liocichla. https://www.livemint.com/Politics/1XBvs4YAYqWBgVigJMmRTO/The-Bugun-Liocichla.html. Accessed 5 June 2018.
  7. Bennett, J. R., Maloney, R., & Possingham, H. P. (2015). Biodiversity gains from efficient use of private sponsorship for flagship species conservation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 282(1805), 20142693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bildstein, K. L. (2006). Migrating raptors of the world: Their ecology and conservation. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bird-David, N. (1990). The giving environment: Another perspective on the economic system of gatherer–hunters. Current Anthropology, 31(2), 189–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Birdlife International. (2006). Bugun Liocichla: a sensational discovery in north-east India. surfbirds.com. http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/blog/2006/09/15/bugun-liocichla-a-sensational-discovery-in-north-east-india/. Accessed 5 June 2018.
  11. Boyes, S. (2013). Safe passage for amur falcons through India. blog.nationalgeographic.org. https://blog.nationalgeographic.org/2013/11/20/safe-passage-for-amur-falcons-through-india/. Accessed 5 June 2018.
  12. Buscher, B., Dressier, W., & Fletcher, R. (2014). Nature Inc: Environmental conservation in the neoliberal age. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Change.Org. (2012). Please stop Amur Falcon Massacre in Nagaland, India. https://www.change.org/p/please-stop-amur-falcon-massacre-in-nagaland-india. Accessed 1 June 2018).
  14. Collar, N. J., & Pilgrim, J. D. (2007). Species-level changes proposed for Asian birds, 2005–2006. Birding ASIA, 8(1), 14–30.Google Scholar
  15. Cormier, L. A. (2003). Kinship with monkeys: The Guaja foragers of Eastern Amazonia. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dale, A. (2018). From slaughter to spectacle- education inspires locals to love Amur Falcon. Birdlife.org. https://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/news/slaughter-spectacle-education-inspires-locals-love-amur-falcon. Accessed 3 June 2018.
  17. Dalvi, S., & Sreenivasan, R. (2012). Shocking Amur Falcon Massacre in Nagaland. Conservationindia.org. http://www.conservationindia.org/campaigns/amur-massacre. Accessed 5 June 2018.
  18. Dietz, T., Fitzgerald, A., & Shwom, R. (2005). Environmental values. Annual Review of Environmental Resources, 30(1), 335–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dooren, T. V. (2014). A day with crows: Rarity, nativity and the violent-care of conservation. Animal Studies Journal, 4(2), 1–28.Google Scholar
  20. Fletcher, R. (2010). Neoliberal environmentality: Towards a poststructuralist political Ecology of the conservation debate. Conservation and Society, 8(3), 171–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fletcher, R., & Katja, N. (2012). Contradictions in tourism: The promise and pitfalls of ecotourism as a manifold capitalist fix. Environment and Society: Advances in Research, 3(1), 60–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goswami, R. (2018). Biodiversity award for Arunachal reserve. Telegraphindia.com. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/north-east/biodiversity-award-for-arunachal-reserve-232663. Accessed 5 June 2018.
  23. Grewal, B. (2009). In search of the Bugun Liocichla and other parables from Eaglenest. Indian Birds, 5(3), 65–69.Google Scholar
  24. Haralu, B., & Sreenivasan, R. (2016). Amur Falcon Conservation in Nagaland, India. Medium.com. https://medium.com/@NWBCT/amur-falcon-conservation-in-nagaland-india-29259f793ef. Accessed 10 June 2018.
  25. IISERPUNENEWS (2013). Postage stamp released of Bugun Liocichla: The bird will now go places! https://iiserpunenews.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/postage-stamp-released-of-bugun-liocichla-the-bird-will-now-go-places Accessed 18 Feb 2018.
  26. Jepson, P., & Canney, S. (2003). Values-led conservation. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 12(4), 271–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kasambe, R. (2014). Doyang reservoir: A potential IBA in Nagaland. Mistnet, 15(2), 24–28.Google Scholar
  28. Knight, J. (2004). Wildlife in Asia: Cultural perspectives. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Lawrence, J. (2013). Action for Amur Falcons brings hope for an end to hunting in Nagaland. Birdlife.org. http://www.birdlife.org/asia/news/action-amur-falcons-brings-hope-end-hunting-nagaland. Accessed 4 June 2018.
  30. Lorimer, J. (2006). Nonhuman charisma: Which species trigger our emotions and why? ECOS, 27(1), 20–27.Google Scholar
  31. Manning, A., & Serpell, J. (1994). Animals and human society: Changing perspectives. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. McAfee, K. (1999). Selling nature to save it? Biodiversity and green developmentalism. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 17(2), 133–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mills, L. S., Soule, M. E., & Doak, D. F. (1993). The keystone-species concept in ecology and conservation: Management and policy must explicitly consider the complexity of interactions in natural systems. BioScience, 43(4), 219–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Milton, K. (2002). Loving nature: Towards an ecology of emotion. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. NationalGeographic. (2012). Pictures: Falcon massacre uncovered in India. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/11/pictures/121123-falcons-hunt-india-animals-science/ Accessed 06 April 2018.
  36. Robinson, J. G., & Redford, K. H. (1991). Neotropical wildlife use and conservation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  37. Simberloff, D. (1998). Flagships, umbrellas, and keystones: is single-species management passé in the landscape era? Biological Conservation, 83(3), 247–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sinha, N. (2014). A hunting community in Nagaland takes steps toward conservation. India.blogs.nytimes.com. https://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/03/a-hunting-community-in-nagaland-takes-steps-toward-conservation/. Accessed 5 June 2018.
  39. Soule, Michael E. (1985). What is conservation biology? BioScience, 35(11), 727–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. The Siberian Times. 2012. Indian ‘massacre’ of protected Amur Falcons is killing at least 120,000 every year. Siberiantimes.com. http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/casestudy/news/indian-massacre-of-protected-amur-falcons-is-killing-at-least-120000-every-year/?comm_order=best. Accessed 1 June 2018.
  41. Tidemann, S., & Gosler, A. (2010). Ethno-ornithology: Birds, indigenous peoples, culture and society. London: Routledge and Earthscan.Google Scholar
  42. TNN (2011). IISER scientist receives international honour. Times of India https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/IISER-scientist-receives-international-honour/articleshow/8404247.cms. Accessed 18 Jan 2018.
  43. Tsing, A. L., Brosius, J. P., & Zerner, C. (2005). Introduction: Raising questions about communities and conservation. In J. P. Brosius, A. L. Tsing, & C. Zerner (Eds.), Communities and conservation: Histories and politics of community-based natural resource management (pp. 1–34). Walnut Creek: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
  44. West, P. (2006). Conservation is our government now: The politics of ecology in Papua New Guinea. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Humanities and Social SciencesIndian Institute of TechnologyGandhinagarIndia
  2. 2.Social Science Research Council (SSRC)New YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations