by Rinchen Norbu WangchukAugust 1, 2019, 8:07 pm
Back in 2014, the Zoological Society of London identified the Greater Adjutant Stork, an unusual species of scavenging birds, as one close to extinction or an EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) species.
This ungainly scavenger, considered by many as a disease-carrying creature and a bad omen, was once commonly found across the wetlands in Southeast Asia. Today, less than 1,200 are left in the world of which more than 75 per cent are residing in Assam itself.
For award-winning conservationist Purnima Devi Barman, this species, locally referred to as the ‘Hargila’ (bone-swallowers), has always been a friend.
Fondly referred to as the ‘Hargila Baideu’ (Stork Sister) by the local community for the work she has been doing for the birds, Purnima has dedicated her life to protect the Greater Adjutant by stopping landowners from cutting down their nesting sites, and taking matters to court for the protection of the wetlands from rampant concrete construction.