[ad_1]

NEW DELHI: Over 50% of Indian species of birds might have reported a decline in their long-term and current population trends over the past decades, but the outlook for Indian peafowl (peacock and peahen) shows an improvement with the country’s national bird now being sighted even in states which were not deemed suitable for their survival 25 years ago.
Though the peafowl’s population has increased throughout its distribution range, this legally protected species has found additional homes in Kerala and Thar desert in Rajasthan – the regions where it remained absent in the past as extremely wet or extremely dry areas are not hospitable habitats for the bird.
“The reasons for this pattern have not been investigated in detail, but expansion into Kerala may be associated with an overall drying trend, and expansion into the Thar desert appears to have accompanied the spread of canals and irrigation,” said the State of India’s Birds 2020, released on sidelines of 13th Conference of Parties (COP13) to the UN Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in Gandhinagar on Monday.
The other bit of good news emerging from this birdwatchers’ report concerns the familiar house sparrow, as its overall population trend remained stable during the past 25 years despite its gradual decline in six large metro cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad – and other urban centres.
The report also noted that there is no current evidence to support the popular theory that radiation from mobile phone towers could have affected sparrow population in cities.
This pioneering report assesses the status of 867 Indian birds using a massive database of information contributed by over 15,500 birdwatchers. Using data uploaded by birdwatchers to the online platform eBird, the report identifies species that are high in conservation concern, and those that are doing relatively well. The report, however, does not give the number of birds in absolute terms. It maps out proportional change in frequency of reporting through observation in 2018 compared to 2000 and before.
The analysis indicates 48% of species have remained stable or increasing in the long term, while 79% show declines in the last five years. In all, 101 species have, however, been classified as of high conservation concern.
But, the report throws up the question how India can reverse the declining population trend among specifically those birds which are classified in the list of 101 for “high conservation concern”—raptors, pheasants, bustards, hornbills, cranes and storks.
The environment ministry has recently come out with a 10-year comprehensive plan for conservation of birds and their habitats through multiple measures including curbing illegal trade of birds and constant surveillance of avian disease.
“If this plan is implemented well, I am sure it’ll reverse the trend where the population of certain species has seen decline,” said Ashwin Viswanathan of the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) – one of the partner organisations that brought out the report.
The species that have suffered the highest declines in the past 25 years include White-Rumped Vulture, Richard’s Pipit, Indian Vulture, Eagle, Great Indian Bustard, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Pacific Golden Plover and Curlew Sandpiper. On the other hand, Rosy Starling, Feral Pigeon, Glossy Ibis, Plain Prinia, Ashy Prinia and Indian Peafowl are among the species which have recorded high increase during the period.
The ministry in its 10-year plan listed 15 major programmes, ranging from conserving avian habitats in urban areas to conservation of migratory birds, which would be implemented over the short-term (4 years), medium-term (4-7 years) and long-term (7-10 years) periods to conserve the bird population in India.
The programme on curbing illegal trafficking of birds include mapping hotspots of sources, transit and markets, creating a national repository of avian reference samples and generating database on DNA and feather structure for forensic purposes in tackling wildlife crime.

[ad_2]

Source link