Threatened birds

In a recent presentation on The Threatened Birds of India, at the India International Centre, New Delhi, Bikram Grewal, a prolific writer on the birds of India, revealed the sad statistics of India's depleting forest cover and its impact on the avian population.

The Red data book of the Zoological Survey of India in 1994 lists only 55 threatened species of birds, whereas, estimates by independent experts puts the figure way above hundred, he said.

In Tamilnaclu, clearing of fig trees to provide fodder for camp elephants has led to a decrease in the state's hornbill population. The massive deforestation of the Andama n and Nicobar islands' evergreen forests and replacing them with coconut plantations has affected the Nicobar pigeon and the Megapode. Intensive pine plantations has severely affected pheasants in the Himalayan region.

Grewal expressed concerns at the havoc created by herb and mushroom collectors in the Himalayan tract, where forests have the largest sustainable population of the western Tragopan in India.

One loophole, says Grewal, in the country's law is that "while the export of Indian birds is banned, there is no restriction in the export of foreign birds bred in India".

Related Content