Fifteen Indian bird species are part of a list of avians which are evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Yale University has come out with a study of 100 Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species worldwide.
The study says Bengal Florican, Lesser Florican, Great Indian Bustard, Sociable Lapwing and Jerdon’s Courser are birds that are under threat due to the destruction of their habitat of grasslands and scrub forests. The survival of Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Siberian Crane and White-bellied Heron greatly depend on the existence of their wetland habitat.
Forest Owlet’s survival is impossible if its habitat of deciduous forests in central India is destroyed, the study said. Officials of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), which works on the conservation of 12 of these threatened birds, said these species were threatened by human factors such as uncontrolled urbanisation, unsustainable industrialisation and rampant use of chemicals in agriculture.
“Comprehensive conservation action based on in-depth field research is required to save these species from going extinct. Today these habitats are facing some of the most severe human pressure which endangers the survival of the avian population found there,” BNHS director Asad Rahmani said.
Habitats such as grasslands and wetlands and the species inhabiting them have long been neglected in the conservation process in India, he added. Bittu Sahgal, editor, Sanctuary Asia, said birds such as the Bengal Florican, Great Indian Bustard, and Jerdon’s Courser are as vital to the health of grasslands as the tiger is to the forests in which it is found.
“India has displayed little regard for its grasslands these past decades and it is about time the nation stopped treating these life-saving ecosystems as wastelands”, Mr. Sahgal, also an environmental activist said.
Source: The Hindu,19 April 2014