Important bird areas under threat in AP, Telangana

The Hans India , Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Correspondent : James Edwin
Warangal: Out of the 18 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 10 to 12 IBAs are facing threat, according to the latest report of Bombay Natural History Society’s (BNHS).

Bird Life International, a global conservation organisation, dedicated the current year for conserving birds and their habitats. In this backdrop, the observations made in the BNHS report, compiled after 14 years and publicised recently, signifies the need of IBAs protection in both the states.

An IBA is identified using an internationally agreed set of criteria globally important for the conservation of birds. Though the IBAs count increased from 16 in 2004 to 18 now, increased urbanisation, industrialisation of poaching, trapping, overgrazing, fire during breeding period, agriculture expansion, illegal grazing and cutting of trees and other such activities have threatening 27 bird species in AP and TS.

Noorukuppalakonda located in Chittoor district and Papikonda National Park spread across East and West Godavari districts of AP are the two new IBAs. The BNHS suggested adding a large water body on the Manjira wetland boundary to Manjira Wildlife Sanctuary to develop Manjira-Singur Waterfowl Sanctuary as nearly 22,000 birds, including Red-crested Pochard and Bar-headed Goose are newly found there.

Referring to the proposed uranium mining at Lambapur in Nalgonda district, the report felt that if open-cast mining is allowed, Nagarjunasagar- Srisailam Tiger Reserve spread across AP and Telangana may face negative impact due to biotic pressures and water pollution.

The BNHS recommended Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary in Warangal rural district as a Ramsar Site, which means it provides refuge during adverse conditions to threatened species and regularly supports 20,000 or more water birds.

Noted ornithologist the late, Dr Salim Ali, recorded 105 bird species data at Nagarjunasagar- Srisailam Tiger Reserve but many species are disappearing as the reserve has been deteriorating during the last 25 years.

Indian Scimitar-babbler, Malabar Trogon, and Nilgiri Woodpigeon recorded by Ali are no longer seen.

The BNHS report placed White rumped, Long-billed and Red-headed Vultures, Great Indian Bustard and Jerdon’s Courser under critically endangered category. Egyptian Vulture, Lesser Florican and Black-bellier Tern are the endangered species.

“The BNHS as its duty compiles data through extensive study striving to protect the bird species in the country. But the preservation and protection are a collective duty and everyone needs to do his part,” one of the lead authors of the report Asad R Rahmani said speaking to The Hans India over phone from Mumbai.

Great Indian Bustard found in three to four and up to 60-70 birds seen in Rollapadu grasslands in 1980s, less than five birds are left now in Rollapadu Sanctuary due to poaching and mismanagement of the grasslands.

Jerdon’s Courser, considered the rarest bird in India and known from Godavari river valley near Sironcha and Bhadrachalam and Kadapa and Anantapur areas, has not been seen for the last five years though the BNHS with the help of Darwin Initiative and AP Forest Department is carrying out detailed surveys and research, he noted.


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