Vengurla Rocks: Nesting site of bird with edible nest may get protection | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Vengurla Rocks: Nesting site of bird with edible nest may get protection

Vengurla Rocks, a marine bird breeding and nesting site in Sindhudurg district, is likely to be recognised as a protected conservation zone by the state. This will help stave off risk that birds at the site face from poachers.

mumbai Updated: Oct 19, 2012 01:15 IST
Snehal Rebello

Vengurla Rocks, a marine bird breeding and nesting site in Sindhudurg district, is likely to be recognised as a protected conservation zone by the state. This will help stave off risk that birds at the site face from poachers.

Vengurla Rocks has been listed as one of five locations in India with potential to be listed as Important Bird Area (IBA), the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has told BirdLife International, a global alliance of conservation organisations working together for birds and people.
More than one lakh Indian Swiftlets or, the Indian Edible-nest Swiftlet, visit and breed at Vengurla Rocks – also known as the Burnt Island. Experts said eggs of the Indian Swiftlet are used to make nest soup in West Asia.

“These birds build their nests in caves and there have been cases when poachers were arrested for collecting the eggs by erecting bamboo scaffoldings. This site therefore needs to be protected,” said Raju Kasambe, head, IBA programme for BNHS.

The other potential IBAs in Indian waters include Pitti Island and Beleapani Reef in Lakshadweep, Gulf of Mannar and Point Calimere - Palk Strait in Tamil Nadu.
Declaring these sites as marine IBAs will ensure conservation efforts by the government. “Sea birds do not come on land, except during the breeding season. Protecting these islands is therefore important because it means protecting their nesting sites and thereby allowing them to multiply,” said Kasambe.

These potential Indian sites figure in the e-Atlas of Marine Important Bird Areas, which is the first global inventory of important sites for the conservation of marine species.

“India has myriad coastal and marine habitats including mudflats, near shore areas, creeks, lagoons, gulf waters, mangroves, wetlands and coastal dunes, which harbour vital populations of seabirds. These sea birds act as indicators of marine biodiversity and ecosystem,” said Kasambe.
Highlighting the importance of marine IBAs, Ben Lascelles, global marine IBA officer, BirdLife International said, “A large number of seabirds are killed as by-catch on the high seas. Thus, tracking their movement and roosting sites and identifying a network of priority sites for their conservation is vital to ensure their future survival.”