KATHAMNDU, Aug 22 - The already threatened bio-diversity of the country is under further threat with decreased count of birds. The country has already been witnessing an alarming decrease in the count of endangered one-horned rhinos and tigers, among others.
According to a recent study by Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN), population of about two-third bird species in the country has declined. A total of 862 bird species have been recorded in Nepal so far.
However, population of some species like sparrows and crows has increased.
Habitat loss and damage is a major threat faced by 89 percent of birds in the country, says Hem Sagar Baral, a bird expert and executive director of BCN.
Similarly, increased illegal hunting and disturbances by increased human population has adversely affected bird population, he added.
"Mostly, wetland species of birds are under a wide range of threats due to the disappearance of wetlands," warned Baral. Wetlands are among the most productive environments for the breeding of bird species, including kingfishers and water ducks.
The number of water birds has dropped sharply at the internationally important wetland of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (KTWR) and Koshi Barrage, said the BCN study.
"We were able to count only 9,800 birds in one day in 2003, where more than 50,000 birds used to be viewed a decade ago," said Baral. The site where more than 485 species of birds were recorded a decade ago now has only 250 species.
Similarly, sharp decreases in wetland birds have also been recorded in the rivers, streams, lakes and ponds of Chitwan National Park, said Baral.
According to Baral, there has been no record of some wetland bird species like Gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica), Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia), River tern (Sterna aurantia) and Black-bellied tern (Sterna acuticauda) for the past few years, which were earlier counted in the hundreds at KTWR. Similarly, Indian Skimmer, Bengal floricans, (Houbaropsis bengalensis), and Pale headed Woodpecker, among others, are under tremendous threat, said Baral.
Of the 862 bird species in the country, 31 bird species are rated globally threatened in the list of The World Conservation Union (IUCN). Globally threatened species are species that are in critical state internationally and can become extinct if not seriously protected.
Apart from the aforementioned threats to the bird population, the new threat of climate change is also emerging for Nepal's birds, said Baral.
Due to climate change, some significant responses in the bird populations have been recorded recently. The flow of summer migratory birds in the country dropped this year compared to last year.
Both summer migratory birds and winter migratory birds from North East Asia and Africa come here for breeding and other purposes. More than
300 migratory bird species come to Nepal, according a data provided by BCN.
Posted on: 2007-08-22 19:55:11 (Server Time)
Source : Ekantipur
BY PRAGATI SHAHI
Edited by kslsanjeeb9, 23 August 2007 - 09:50 AM.