Water birds under threat from habitat loss

- BIMAL KHATIWADA, Chitwan
Water birds under threat from habitat loss

Jan 19, 2015-

In the absence of proper habitat, the number of water birds in the district has declined significantly compared to last year. The districtwide water bird count conducted last year had recorded 49 species of water birds while only 44 species of water birds were counted this year.

A six-day campaign to count the number of water bird species was launched at the joint initiative of the Bird Education Society (BES), Nepal Ornithologists’ Association (NOA) and Chitwan National Park (CNP) recently.

According to Bishnu Bidari, chairperson of BES and mid-area coordinator of NOA, five species of the water birds were missing in the latest count. The missing species of water birds are bar-headed goose, common shelduck, northern shoveler, red-crested pochard and common pochard, Bidari said.

The team of bird watchers had counted a total of 14,000 birds within an area between Gaidahawa of Kumroj through Kasara bridge, Old Rapti, Dhungre Khola, Beeshajari Taal, and among which 5,659 of them were water birds. Last year, a total of 6,795 water birds were recorded in the area.

“Increasing water pollution and lack of proper food source have greatly endangered the water birds,” Bidari said, adding that preventive measures should be taken immediately to help protect the water birds and conserve their habitat.

“As the number of birds is declining steadily, we have to do our best to conserve their habitat by keeping the streams and lakes clean, check rampant deforestation and encroachment and the use of fertilizers,” Bidari said.

Meanwhile, another major factor contributing to the decline in the number of water bird is the drying up of lakes over the past four years.

Of the 872 species of birds found in Nepal, around 626 species are found in Chitwan alone.

Published: 20-01-2015 12:42

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