Pashu Sandesh, 11th January 2019
There is a decline in the migratory bird population over the years is accepted by the Government of India. In a written answer to a question in Lok Sabha, MoS for Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Mahesh Sharma accepted the fact that there is no specific assessment conducted by the Ministry with respect to population of migratory birds visiting India recently, assessments by Wetlands International in the past indicated that some migratory bird showed a decreasing trend, whereas some species indicated a stable population.
Dr Mahesh Sharma highlighted the measures taken by his ministry to improve the migratory Bird population which include:
i. Rare and endangered species of birds including migratory birds are included in Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 thereby according them the highest degree of protection.
ii. Stringent punishments have been provided in the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 for violation of provisions of the Act.
iii. Important habitats of birds, including migratory birds have been notified as Protected Areas under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 for better conservation and protection of birds and their habitats. Financial assistance is provided to the States/UT Governments for protection and management of wildlife and its habitats.
iv. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has prepared a ‘National Action Plan for conservation of migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway’. This Action Plan provides for a coordinated approach for implementing the Action Plan in all the States and Union Territories.
v. Focused protection measures involving the local communities have been taken up in the State of Nagaland for protection of Amur Falcons that migrate to North East India on their route to Southern Africa. With the coordinated efforts of the Forest Department, Government of Nagaland, NGO’s scientific institutes and local communities, killing of Amur Falcons have become ‘zero’ since 2013.
vi. India is a signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and India has also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CMS on conservation of Siberian Cranes and Raptors.
Pashu Sandesh view: The decline in population of migratory birds could be attributed to Global warming and Pollution leading to loss of Habitat exposing these birds to a kind of Genetic stress which under the laws of evolution would take millennia to stabilise. This global catastrophe has greatly affected the reproduction capacity leading to declining population and emerged as major threat superseding poaching as the leading cause for the same.