KATHMANDU, Sept 29: It has been revealed that the number of half the total species of birds, which are considered the indicators of the environmental health of earth, has been rapidly declining and one in every eight species is on the verge of extinction.
According to an international study report titled 'State of World's Birds 2022', which is published every four years, due to the expansion of agriculture, fires, exploitation of natural resources, climate change, and deforestation, bird species are facing a crisis of existence on such a large scale.
The report concludes that 49 percent of the world's bird species are in decline, mainly due to human activities and climate change. A report released in 2018 found that 40 percent of the world's bird species were in decline.
Similarly, according to the study report released on Tuesday by World Life International, an international organization working for the protection of birds, due to the expansion and intensification of agriculture, 73 percent of the total species of birds are under pressure to survive. It is believed that there are 11,000 species of birds in the world.
The fifth edition of the report which has been published since 2004 states that at least 187 species have become extinct since the year 1500. Most of these species are endemic to sea islands, but in recent years, birds found on land in the tropics are increasingly becoming extinct. In the world's ecosystem, birds play an important role as pollinators, seed spreaders and ecosystem engineers.
As they travel long distances, birds play an important role in maintaining the interconnection of long-distance ecosystems, transmitting other organisms and nutrients. In recent years, the popularity of bird watching has been increasing in the world and it has also encouraged conservation and economic activities.
The State of the World's Birds-2022 warns that the next decade is critical for bird conservation and that if serious conservation efforts are not made during this period, more bird species will become extinct forever. The report recommends that the world take 12 bird conservation actions by 2030.
The report recommends more efforts to increase the number and quality of protected areas and protect bird habitats. According to the report, destruction can be prevented by controlling poaching, management of invasive species, control over exploitation of natural resources and creating public awareness. Similarly, reducing the use of fossil fuels that are responsible for climate change, adopting nature-based conservation measures, and using renewable energy will also help protect birds.
20 percent of Nepal's birds face the risk of extinction
Ornithologist Dr Hemsagar Baral said that 20 percent of the total 891 bird species found in Nepal are under threat. He said wetland birds are in dire straits, and crises on grassland and forest-based birds are on the rise. In terms of geography, Nepal occupies 0.1% of the earth's surface and has about 9% of the total species of birds found in the world. Nepal is considered to be rich in biological diversity due to its unique geographical conditions and varying altitude.
Director General of National Wildlife and Conservation Department, Dr Maheshwar Dhakal claimed that the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in agriculture, water and air pollution, climate change and other reasons have added challenges to the conservation of birds. He argues that special attention should be paid to the protection of rare and endangered birds.