Number of water birds ‘declining’

Number of water birds ‘declining’

Jan 14, 2015-

Migrantory water birds in the district have been endangered due to human activities such as deforestation and encroachment, ornithologists and conservationists counting the number of such birds in nine lakes in the district said.

A team of ornithologists and conservationists, with support from Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN), Tiger Mountain Resort and other organisations, has been studying the pattern of such birds for the past one week.

“In comparison to previous years, a steady decline has been witnessed in the number of migratory birds,” said ornithologist Jhalak Chaudhary, adding that the conditions were not favourable to such birds due to lack of food and safety.

Chaudhary said the number of birds in the district declined by 15 percent owing to the encroachment of wetlands, fishing, human movement and adventure sports activities like paragliding.

While various species of ducks, including red-crested Pochard, bar-headed goose and pheasant-tailed Jacana, found in plenty five years ago have become rare, the Lesser-whistling duck recorded at 475 eight years ago has gone extinct.

According to Hari KC, an expert working as bird guide for the past 22 years, said rampant encroachment of wetland along with the change in weather pattern and hunting were the primary reasons behind the decline in the number of migratory water birds.

“If the situation continues, it will not be long before the birds go completely extinct from the lakes,” KC said.

Experts say the migratory water birds that usually start arriving at the lakes in mid-September return to their respective habitat by mid-March. “The birds come to Nepal via Mongolia, Siberia, and Tibet to escape the winter, seeking safe habitat and food,” said Krishna Bhusal, biologist and field expert of the BCN. Bhusal said about 150 species of water birds migrate to Nepal, annually.

Bird watching officially started in Nepal in 1999 to create awareness on condition of birds and conservation of wetlands.

Published: 15-01-2015 09:49

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