Greater adjutant storks once strutted through marshes and nested in villages across much of India and Southeast Asia. Now, they’ve disappeared from most of these countries, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that between 1,200 and 1,800 survive.
The species is the world’s most endangered stork. Two-thirds of the global population live in Assam, where they are called hargila — bone swallower.
About 140 pairs raise their chicks in two Assamese villages, Dadara and Pacharia, across the Brahmaputra from Guwahati.
Women in Assam known as the ‘hargila’ army, named after the bird’s name in Assamese language, sing hymns and weave cloth with motifs of the bird to create awareness about the need to protect the species.
Assam has about two-thirds of them, largely in three villages just northwest of state capital Guwahati.
Greater adjutant storks are found in the eastern Indian state of Bihar and in Cambodia.
यथा ह्येकेन चक्रेण न रथस्य गतिर्भवेत्। एवं परुषकारेण विना दैवं न सिद्ध्यति।।
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