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11 per cent migratory birds under threat: BNHS
Mumbai | Saturday, May 8 2010 IST
 
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A two-day World Migratory Bird Day celebration was kicked off here today with a call to take urgent steps to protect 11 per cent of the endangered migratory birds.

With increasing human-driven threats and decreasing natural habitats, over 12.4 per cent of the total bird species worldwide are threatened, Director of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Dr Asad R Rahmani said. Quoting a report of BirdLife International, of which BNHS is the Indian partner, he said only 19 per cent of all bird species are migratory and among them 11 per cent are threatened. Out of the more than 1,200 species of birds till now reported from India, nearly 350 species are migratory, including very large number of forest birds. Many forest birds have also decreased in number due to destruction of their habitat. In India some of the threatened migratory birds include Siberian Crane, Greater Spotted Eagle, Lesser Flamingo, Sociable Lapwing, Spotted Greenshank, Spoonbill Sandpiper, Imperial Eagle, Houbara Bustard and Wood Snipe. Besides, the globally threatened bird species, even some common migratory species such as Bar-headed Goose, White-eyed Pochard, Black Stork and White Stork are also decreasing in number. All these large migratory birds require wetlands. Dr Rahmani said with a large number of migratory birds in India on the threatened list it was crucial to take immediate steps to protect them.

''India falls on the South-Asia migratory route and being the largest country in the region, for some migratory species India is very important during their winter sojourn. A few species reach up to Sri Lanka , but bulk of the population stays in India .

Thus, the location of the Indian peninsula is unique because other than Sri Lanka there is no major landmass further south where the birds can go,'' he observed.

Asserting that India's role was crucial in protecting migratory birds and wetlands, Dr Rahmani said objective of World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is to celebrate the wonderful phenomenon of bird migration and to highlight threats faced by most migratory birds, which are crucial indicators of environmental conditions and can have far-reaching impact on humans. Interestingly, 2010 is also the International Year of Bio-diversity. BNHS has been working on migratory birds through its Migratory Birds Study Centre at Point Calimere in Tamil Nadu, bird studies in Chilika Lake (Orissa) and Uttar Pradesh, he said adding that activities like the annual Flamingo Festival have also been creating awareness about migratory birds.

-- (UNI) -- 08BY1.xml

 

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