In a first-of-itskind initiative, conservationists in the state are planning to develop a regional red data list of the birds in Kerala. It will assess the present status of the bird population and the threats faced by each species based on IUCN’s red list. According to members of Kerala Birder, a group of birders based in Kerala, the assessment will be carried out in two stages and plans are on the anvil to publish the red list by mid-2014. “By doing so we will basically prioritise the birds of the region for conservation. The current assessment is based on a global criteria, which need not be suitable for Kerala. If we prepare a list with Kerala as the focus, regional status of bird species can be evaluated in a much better way. For example, Malabar Pied Hornbill is listed as near-threatened globally but in Kerala it is probably endangered. It is in this context that creating a red list of birds for Kerala assumes significance,” said J Praveen, moderator, Kerala Birder. He further said that the initiative will be carried out with the active participation of all concerned parties, including officials of the state forest department. “IUCN allows for the creation of such local red lists and has laid down rules on how to go about it. “Some countries have already adopted it and have created their own red lists. Our initiative is the first of its kind in the country and we think the time is ripe for Kerala to create such a list. We have all the resources needed to create it,” Praveen added. Although the assessment will be based on the same category prescribed by the IUCN, the evaluation criteria (threat level) will be different, as it will solely focus on regional data. Calling it a major step towards the conservation of various bird species including the non-endemic ones, P O Nameer, head, Department of Wildlife Sciences, College of Forestry, KAU said, “When we carry out the regional assessment of an endemic species (species found only in a specific region) it becomes a global assessment. But in the case of non-endemic species, the local-level threat and the population status could be understood only by carrying out a regional assessment. This initiative is a major step towards prioritising conservation efforts.” The IUCN red list categorises various species based on nine levels - Not Evaluated (NE), Data Deficient (DD), Least Concern (LC), Near Threatened (NT), Vulnerable (VU), Endangered (EN), Critically Endangered (CR), Extinct in the Wild (EW) and Extinct (EX).
Source:Indian Express, 17 June 2013