10 bird habitats in danger: Report

As many as 10 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in India are under serious threat of being lost forever, according to extensive studies by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the UK-based BirdLife International.

Ranebennur in the Haveri district of Karnataka also featured in the list of India’s endangered bird habitats.

BirdLife International, in partnership with BNHS, presented a report to  the
ongoing World Parks Congress in Sydney titled “Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas: A Global Network for Conserving Nature and Benefiting People”.

It found that only half of the 356 endangered IBAs across 122 countries and territories were legally protected, but even some of those may be lost. There are currently 12,000 identified IBAs on the planet.

In its studies across India, the BNHS found that coastal and inland wetlands, grasslands and forests were at the greatest risk of losing their biodiversity. Many other IBAs, although not on this list, are also threatened by various types of unsustainable human interference.

Dr Raju Kasambe, Project Manager of the IBA Programme from BNHS, said: “Unfortunately in India, nearly 50 per cent of the IBAs are not getting any sort of official recognition from government agencies. These are the areas which need utmost and urgent protection if we are really serious about saving the threatened species of birds in India. Our future generations will never pardon us for destroying the important habitats of birds in such a callous manner.”

Ecosystem services

Most IBAs also provide for ecosystem services such as water supply for drinking and agriculture, tourism potential and natural pest control, if managed sustainably.

The BNHS said the IBAs are threatened due to destruction and disturbance from infrastructure development, wrong anti-people conservation policies, indiscriminate livestock grazing beyond traditional pastoral lands and agricultural expansion by using pesticides, industrial and sewage pollution, besides rapid urbanisation and poaching.

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