Number of migratory birds decline in Koshi Tappu

Published On: November 25, 2019 08:01 AM NPT By: Amar Khadka

ITAHARI, Nov 25: The number of birds in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (KTWR) has been decreasing in the recent times. Wildlife experts attribute this to the decreased in water levels in ponds and rivers, and lack of food for the birds in the reserve.

“There is lack of prey for birds,” said Ramdev Chaudhary, conservation officer at the reserve, adding that the number of birds migrating to the reserve has also declined this year.

According to him, fishing is allowed in the reserve. This has reduced the prey of the birds. Majority of locals near the reserve earn their livelihoods by fishing in the Koshi Tappu area. 

On August 18, 2008, a massive flood in Saptakoshi River had swept away the eastern embankment of the reserve. That led to a fall in the number of migratory birds for two years. However, the number increased consistently over the next few years but started declining again since the last few years. 

The number of birds has declined by more than a half in comparison to the number of birds migrating to the reserve before the massive flood, state the reserve officials. Birds start to migrate to the reserve from mid-October till December end.

Drying water sources and shrinking wetlands, poaching and irrational activities of human beings are various factors behind the decline in the number of birds in KTWR.

Poaching is also common in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. Last year, the reserve had sent a letter to the authorities concerned to tighten the security to prevent poaching of birds in the reserve.

“The number of birds migrating to Nepal has declined in recent times,” said Dr Hem Sagar Baral, an ornithologist, adding that 90 percent of birds have already arrived in the reserve. 

A total of 888 species of birds are found in Nepal. There are 34 different species of ducks in the country. In KTWR alone, 526 species of birds including 29 endangered species can be found.

Meanwhile, the number of migratory birds has increased in Barju Lake in western part of Sunsari. The lake, which is spread across 152 bigha area, has seen an increase in the number of birds. The locals have been conserving the lake since 1996. As a result, the number of migratory birds has increased in the lake.

Migratory birds used to arrive in thousands until a few decades ago. After the embankment was damaged, the number of migratory birds started to decline. In the recent times, 100 different species of migratory birds have been coming to Barju Lake.

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