Bird survey finds 4 rare species in Sanjay Gandhi National Park

  • Badri Chatterjee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 01, 2015 22:41 IST

A recently-held survey of bird at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), Borivli, has recorded 194 species, 29 more than the last study held 34 years back.

According to the 2014-15 Bird Diversity of SGNP report, four rare species have been spotted. However, the number of water birds and carnivore species such as vultures were either absent or declining.

In fact birds of prey like vultures have gone completely missing, said the report. Researchers have said one of the causes for this could be the use of a drug, Diclofenac. “Over the last decade, these birds haven’t been spotted and ingestion of Diclofenac, which is injected into cattle to induce milk flow, is causing their deaths,” said Saurabh Sawant, wildlife researcher and photographer, who was part of the team that conducted the survey.

The report, compiled in collaboration with SGNP and Maharashtra forest department, said the numbers of water-birds like Black-bellied tern, River tern, Oriental darter and some duck species are dwindling. “Their numbers have reduced owing to lack of water bodies and pollution,” said Dr Parvish Pandya, zoologist, Bhavans College, Andheri, a part of the survey.

Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon (Photo: Prateik Kulkarni)

Officials from SGNP say as the numbers are deteriorating, better strategies need to be put in place for conservation of birds. “There are a lot of people have done various studies in isolation. The data from these studies needs to be compiled,” said Vikas Gupta, director and chief conservator of forest, SGNP.

Vikas Kharge, principal secretary of forests, Maharashtra Forest Department, said, “Following reports like this, a dedicated conservation plan is being initiated by the biodiversity board of the Maharashtra Forest Department in tandem with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).”

Wildlife experts said that more surveys are needed to establish reasons for the decline in bird numbers. “Birds like vultures are not expected in areas like SGNP as they generally frequent areas where there is excess garbage or dead animals to feed on. More surveys need to be carried out to analyse such findings,” said SA Thorat, additional principal chief conservator of forest, wildlife department, Mumbai.

Pale-billed flowerpecker (Photo: Saurabh Sawant)

Highlights of the study:

194 - No. of species recorded

341 - Total no. of species in and around SGNP recorded in this as well as previous studies

No. of new species spotted – 29

Four rare birds spotted include

Eastern imperial eagle

White-bellied sea eagle

Forest wagtail

Malabar grey hornbill

Crimson-backed sunbird (Photo: Saurabh Sawant)

Blue-capped Rock Thrush (Photo: Saurabh Sawant)

Black eagle (Photo: Saurabh Sawant)

Amur Falcon (Photo: Saurabh Sawant)

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