Assam: Looming Threat to Migratory Birds

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JUTHIKA BARUAH

From bar-headed geese to black-headed gulls, migratory birds flock to India and Assam is also one such state where many migratory birds flock to the state every year. The migratory birds enthralled the tourists’ destinations but since few years the number of such birds flocking to the state has been decreased as the breeding sites are affected.

In Assam, there are 46 Important Bird Area other than the wildlife sanctuaries but despite of these areas which are cited as sites for migratory birds, the congregation of such birds have become less as the sites are being encroached by the people illegally and the areas are also being used for fishing and other illegal works.

Speaking on the issue, Environmentalist Moloy Baruah said, the Bird Life International and BNHS have jointly declared these areas as Important Bird Area but now these areas are being encroached for which the flocking of migratory birds have been decreased.

The identified IBA sites in Assam are Chirang Reserve Forest, Maguri and Motapung Beels, Manas Reserve Forest, Ripu Reserve Forest, Dibru-Saikhowa complex, Kaziranga National Park, Majuli etc.

Baruah further stated that migratory birds flock to Assam and returned to South Africa after it fly via Nagaland, Manipur and during their journey many birds even die.

He further said that the Ramsar site in Assam has once been declared as the bird habitat as more than 20,000 birds flocked to the site but due to the poisonous water many birds didn’t flock to the site and this is the reason that the Ramsar site has lost its glory today.

Moreover, Dr. Anuwaruddin Choudhury in his book ‘Birds of Assam’ mentioned that the Ramsar site was the habitat for 820 birds in 2000 and thereafter another 10-12 birds name have been included in the list.

According to Baruah, Kaziranga, Pobitora, and Dibru-Saikhowa are the places listed safe for the migratory birds. “As most of the people are non-vegetarian in the state, many birds are also being killed in the reserved areas as well. The Pani-Dihing bird sanctuary is one such place where birds bird poaching takes place,” said Baruah.

He further stated that if the forest department doesn’t take any step, then these sites will be of no value. It is the forest department who should take care of the migratory birds as the birds are the attraction for tourists.

The Nagaland tribes are exceptional in protecting the migratory birds. The tribes of Nagaland are protesting the Amur Falcon which was killed by firing at a time.

It may also be stated that the migratory birds flock to the state mostly in December-January and the forest department should be alert in these two months in order to protect the birds. Many rare birds, like the spot-billed pelican, white-bellied heron, lesser adjutant, greater adjutant, and swamp francolin, were also spotted.

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