“Hargila Army: 10,000 Women Saving India’s Rarest Stork”

Image Credit: The Guardian

In the northeastern state of Assam, India, the Greater Adjutant Stork, also known as the Hargila, was on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and hunting. However, a group of women has mobilized to protect the bird and its habitat, creating what is known as the “Hargila Army.”

The Hargila Army is a group of over 10,000 women from 120 villages in the state of Assam who have taken up the task of protecting the Hargila and its habitat. They work to raise awareness about the importance of the bird, educate their communities about the need to protect it, and patrol the wetlands where the bird nests to prevent poaching and habitat destruction.

The women of the Hargila Army have received training and support from several organizations, including the Wildlife Trust of India and the International Crane Foundation. They have learned to use binoculars and cameras to monitor the birds’ movements, and have received training in environmental conservation and sustainable livelihoods.

Their efforts have paid off: the number of Hargila in Assam has increased from around 120 pairs in 2008 to over 200 pairs in 2021. The bird’s population has grown thanks to the efforts of the Hargila Army, as well as the government’s decision to declare the area where the bird nests a protected area.

The Hargila Army has not only helped save the bird from extinction but has also empowered the women who make up its ranks. The women have gained leadership skills, confidence, and a sense of purpose from their work to protect the Hargila.

The success of the Hargila Army offers a model for community-led conservation efforts in other parts of the world. By empowering local communities to take ownership of conservation efforts, we can create sustainable solutions that benefit both people and wildlife.

Staff Writer