Community action, ecological action, poachers to protctors, protection fo migratory birds

What legends are made of

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One man’s unrelenting struggle to convert a community that was poaching migratory birds in the hundreds of thousands to one that became conservators and protectors.  A tale of extreme dedication, suffering and sacrifice.

The community residing in small fishing villages on the shores of Lake Chilka in Odisha had for long poached thousands of migratory birds as they came in from Central and North Asia to spend the winter months.  The birds were being trapped brutally and sold across Odisha, trains made unscheduled stops to pick cages filled with exotic birds, local officials accepted them as bribes and the people began to believe that they had magical powers to cure diseases.  By the 1980’s a strong mafia had established itself controlling the trade.

One man decided to end all this.  Over 2 decades he kept up his struggle and campaign to protect these foreign guests.  He was beaten, tortured , framed and jailed – yet did not give up.  Today, the same community are protectors and conservators.  Bombay Natural History Society estimated that over the 20 year period the migratory bird population has increased nearly 30 times.

One of the greatest tales of conservation and protection is waiting to be told.   This is what legends are made of.

The Village on lake Chilka

The Village on lake Chilka

Drying Fish

Drying Fish

 

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