Exclusive project sought for protection of bird species

A book 'Butterflies and Birds of the Campus' was released at the inauguration of a national symposium on 'Current Trends in Ornithology and Conservation of Birds in India', sponsored by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India under the Star College Scheme at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru on Tuesday. St Aloysius Institutions Rector Dionysius Vaz, Principal Fr Pravin Martis, Star College Scheme Coordinator Ronald Nazareth, Department Of Zoology Associate Professor and Head Precilla D’Silva and E

Corbett Foundation and Hem Chand Mahindra Foundation scientific adviser Dr Asad R Rahmani said the government should implement an exclusive project for the protection of bird species as poaching and loss of habitat have been posing huge threats for bird species in India.

He was speaking on ‘Threatened Birds of India and Their Conservation Requirements’ at a national symposium on ‘Current Trends in Ornithology and Conservation of Birds in India’ organised at St Aloysius College on Tuesday.

Dr Rahmani, who is the former director of Bombay Natural History Society, said, “India has the highest number of Important Bird Areas (IBA) in the world.

These IBAs are now recognised as key diversity areas. Western Ghat is one among them,” he said.

He said that Lesser Fish Eagle, Great Pied Hornbill, Grey Headed Bulbul, Black and Orange Flycatcher, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Grey Breasted Laughingthrush are among the threatened bird species in the Western Ghats and the conservation of these species is extremely important.

Dr Rahmani said India covers 12.5% of the world’s bird species. The country is ranked among the Top 10 countries in terms of bird diversity. There are 1,263 bird species in India, as per the survey conducted in 2016, he added.

He said more than 80 bird species have become extinct in the last 400 years. There are 1100 globally threatened species in the world, among which, 180 are from India. Two bird species Mountain Quail and Pink-Headed Duck are already extinct in India. As many as 17 are critically endangered, 10 endangered, 56 vulnerable and 85 are near threatened. There are only about 200 individuals of Great Indian Bustard species are left in the entire world, Dr Rahmani said.

Delivering keynote address on ‘Understanding Birds Through Citizen Science’, Nature Conservation Foundation senior scientist Dr Suhel Quader said the population of vultures in India has decreased drastically since 1990. This has been the fastest decline of any vertebrate in the world. Also, bird species such as Yellow Billed Babbler has been declining, he added.

He said that Nature Conservation Foundation has been conducting campus bird connect programme to encourage the listing of birds.

In India, the environmental impact assessment reports have failed to project the real situation on the number of birds and other creatures in a given ecosystem, he regretted.

At the inaugural programme, St Aloysius College Rector Dionysius Vaz said that the human being is trying to occupy the space of animals and birds and called upon the students to build naturalistic intelligence.

A book on butterflies and birds of the campus and a field guide for nature lovers were released on the occasion.

Principal Fr Pravin Martis, Star College scheme coordinator Ronald Nazareth, Department Of Zoology Associate Professor and Head Precilla D’Silva and Eco Connect Ventures Director Shashank Dalvi were present.

The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India under the Star College Scheme, had sponsored the symposium.

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Exclusive project sought for protection of bird species

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