Killing Asian openbill a crime in this Odisha village

Bhubaneswar: A village in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district has decided to impose a penalty of Rs 5,000 for killing an Asian openbill under its territorial jurisdiction.

The residents of Gadapalasuni village under Kankadahad block in Dhenkanal have a belief that the arrival of Asian openbills in their locality is a sign of good agricultural harvest.

“Thousands of Asian openbills usually congregate at Gadapalasuni soon after the advent of monsoon in Odisha. The villagers have a belief that arrival of the birds is a sign of good agricultural harvest for the year. That is why the villagers try to protect the Asian openbills from poaching,” said Duryadhan Behera, a retired high school teacher of the locality.

According to the villagers, around 10,000 Asian opnbills usually throng Gadapalasuni during the monsoon. The birds nest on around 12 tamarind and mango trees in the village.

“The birds lay eggs and hatch them in their nests. They leave our village with their chicks before the advent of winter,” Behera added.

The villagers claim that Asian openbills have been coming to Gadapalasuni for the last 300 years.

“This year, the villagers have collectively decided to impose a penalty of Rs 5,000 on anyone who kills an Asian openbill in the locality,” said Behera.

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