Hargila Army

A group of women are busy making appeals to the citizens with a microphone, travelling in an e-rickshaw in a rural village in Assam’s Kamrup district.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

“Diwali is a festival of lights…please don’t burst crackers. Bursting crackers can cause harm to Greater Adjutant Storks and other birds and animals…request you to celebrate the festival of light in a sensible way,” said a woman in her mid 30s.

She is a member of Hargila Army at Dadara Pachariya villages in Kamrup district of Assam. Hargila is the local name of Greater Adjutant Stork. The all-women group is dedicated to save lives of this species which breed in the locality.

Purnima Devi Barman, a Green Oscar winning conservationist who converted these village women into active wildlife activists, said that with the efforts of the village women, the change is visible.

“Now, people have understood the importance of conservation of Greater Adjutant Storks. Like other conservation works, they are appealing to the people not to burst crackers during Diwali celebrations so that the sounds don’t cause trouble for the carnivorous bird and their breeding,” Barman told The News Mill.

Barman also engaged the village women in various activities to bring a change. Though earlier, the villagers chase away the storks earlier but now they have turned into conservationists.

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According to a latest survey, there are less than 1,200 Greater Adjutant Storks in the world and 80 per cent of them are found in Assam.

In Assam, maximum number of Greater Adjutant Storks are found in these areas of Kamrup and Kamrup Metro districts.   

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the total population of Greater Adjutant Stork is estimated to be from 1,200 to 1,800 in total.

The IUCN, which is world’s oldest and largest global environmental network, further says that around 800 birds are found in Assam and at least 156 birds in Bihar. Besides, around 200 birds are found in Cambodia.

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