Ganga Praharis out to save Indian Skimmer eggs in Haidergarh town of UP’s Barabanki - Hindustan Times
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Ganga Praharis out to save Indian Skimmer eggs in Haidergarh town of UP’s Barabanki

ByGaurav Saigal, Lucknow
May 15, 2023 11:03 PM IST

These villagers are being trained to become Ganga Praharis, who will learn to identify and protect Indian Skimmer eggs.

With spotting scope in tripod, wildlife experts along with villagers are out for a unique initiative focusing on conservation of Indian Skimmer in Haidergarh town of Barabanki.

Training of local people underway to identify skimmer nesting spots. (Sourced pic)
Training of local people underway to identify skimmer nesting spots. (Sourced pic)

“These villagers are being trained to become Ganga Praharis, who will learn to identify and protect Indian Skimmer eggs. These trained volunteers from among the local communities will work for biodiversity conservation and cleanliness,” said Vipul Maurya, wildlife expert presently working for wildlife institute of India (WII).

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“For the first time Indian Skimmer, after being included in endangered list by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), were spotted in Barabanki in March 2022. This year we have decided to identify the nesting Islands of Indian Skimmer to protect their eggs with community participation,” said Vipul Maurya, wildlife expert presently working for wildlife institute of India (WII).

“This community conservation strategy will be implemented in some Indian Skimmer nesting locations as part of a future initiative between researchers, forest departments, and locals. Both anthropogenic activities and other natural predators pose a hazard to Indian Skimmer breeding places,” said Maurya.

The Indian Skimmer, also called Indian Scissors Bill, gets its name from its skimming movement across water surfaces.

While Maurya is looking after training and overall activity for the initiative, Sumit Nautiyal, also working for WII, is focusing on water quality analysis. Till now locals from five villages have joined the initiative who have been told how to identify nesting spots, how to protect eggs by reducing animal and human activities near the eggs.

Explaining why protection is significant for Skimmer eggs, Maurya said Skimmer eggs and chicks were naturally preyed upon by animals such as Indian monitor lizards, house crows, grey herons, brown-headed gulls, and black kites. Skimmers lay eggs in sand along the river hence are vulnerable.

“Skimmers, that rely on the rivers for food, are impacted by water pollution brought on by industrial and agricultural contaminants. Sand mining has also adversely impacted the creation of nesting islands, though wetland and riverine habitat loss is the main cause behind the decline in Indian skimmer population,” Maurya said.

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