Rescued Tragopans, ‘Mon’ & ‘Aram’ find home in Kohima

Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | March 1  

On the night of February 8, Kenei Kuotsu, Founder of SpeakGuru Foundation received the news of a hunter in a remote village who had caught three birds. On the possibility of rescuing the birds—the Blyth's tragopan, an endangered species and also the state bird of Nagaland, Kuotsu knew that he had to immediately make a decision.

“We didn’t think twice but after some quick calls and swift transaction, the birds were ours,” he related to The Morung Express in an exclusive interview. 

Driven by his keen interest in wildlife and conservation, SpeakGuru Foundation had earlier donated a state-of-the-art incubator to the Blyth’s Tragopan Conservation and Breeding Centre (BTCBC) in Kohima along with an inverter in 2017.

Out of the three birds that were recently rescued, one died during transit but the other two reached the breeding centre safely. These two birds –a male and a female have been named ‘Mon’ and ‘Aram’ after the SpeakGuru Foundation Start-up MonAram. With the addition of these two birds, the Blyth’s Tragopan Conservation and Breeding Centre currently has 9 males, 4 females and 2 chicks respectively.

In this connection, Kenei Kuotsu further expressed, “here, I want to thank the hunter for giving us a chance. He’s a hunter from a remote village and who are we to judge him for his only means of providing food for his family? Yet he gave us a chance.”

Highlighting that the birds are in quarantine now and are doing very well, he said, “With breeding season happening in April, I hope they will give us some chicks, either naturally or through the incubator.”

Having supported the Breeding Centre in Kohima for over 5 years now, he articulated that “progress has been slow although I know that we can’t rush the breeding process of a very skittish bird.” The incubator that has been donated by the Foundation, he informed, “is yet to see any result and that’s been disappointing.”

“I wish I can tell you that we managed to hatch 100 chicks using the incubator we donated. That’s not the case but I’m thankful to the breeding centre for giving us an opportunity to be a part of their noble mission,” he went on to say.

He has been informed by the breeding centre that one of the female tragopans successfully hatched 3 chicks by natural incubation and 2 made it. “News like this is so heart-warming and a reminder that we shouldn’t give up,” he expressed while adding, “Has it been worth my while? Absolutely! Should we be doing more? Yes!”

Affirming that they will continue to use this partnership to create conservation awareness like they previously did with some schoolchildren, he maintained that, “if we can just instil that seed in their hearts that we should protect our Tragopan and all other animals then that would be our biggest contribution.” 

“That’s the difference we want to make!” he professed.

Meanwhile, the In-Charge of the Blyth’s Tragopan Conservation and Breeding Centre, Kohima expressed gratitude to the SpeakGuru Foundation for the donation of the two birds, which has further increased the number of tragopans at the centre.

“We have kept the pair in a separate enclosure and have not mixed with the rest yet,” he revealed while highlighting that making separate enclosures for them was essential as they are not yet familiar with each other. On looking after the centre, he also shared that tragopans require extra care and are very difficult to rear. “A slight broken wing or a bird that stops eating; they can just die in a day or two,” he cited.

The mating season, he further informed is once a year and that they are able to hatch hardly 2 or 3 chicks. However, stating that “we are so thankful for the donation,” he exuded hope that the number of tragopans at the centre will keep growing in the years to come.