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Inappropriate / Inaccurate? Kishore Behera
Had you been here a decade earlier, you would have most probably seen Kishore Behera busy shooting birds and collecting their eggs.
Kishore in his life, as per his own admission, has poached more than a lakh of birds and was once infamous as the “Veerapan” of Mangalajodi, Veerapan being the notorious Indian dacoit who had murdered about 200 persons in his lifetime.
But today, the ex-poacher has turned protector and is determined to save the birds at all cost.
Mangalajodi a small picturesque village in eastern India is perched on the banks of Chilika Lake, Asia’s largest estuarine eco-systems known for its marshes and water fowl congregations. A visit to the village unearths an incredibly inspirational story of how a change in human behavior can positively impact the environment. Once known as Bird Poacher’s village, Manglajodi today takes pride in protecting and nurturing its avian inhabitants (200 species of birds during the peak season, of which around 115 are migratory) who from a mere 5,000 in 2000 today number about 3 lakhs.
Having born and lived here always, Kishore knows these wetlands like the back of his hand. You name a particular bird and he will take you to it, rowing his rough country made boat across the marshes.
Your trip can augment the income of the reformed locals like Kishore and ensure that they are not compelled to take up the bow and arrow once more to meet their financial needs.
Kishore is a part of the conservation team of Mangalajodi Ecotourism Trust ( www.mangalajodiecotourism.com ) and can be contacted at +91-88952-88955.