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Number of water birds declines in Nepal

KATHMANDU: The number of water birds has decreased in the country this year, the preliminary data of the Water Bird Census 2021 showed. The census was conducted from January 2 to 18.
Experts have suggested timely steps for bird conservation as it was a matter of concern that the number and the species of water birds, which are considered the indicators of the health of wetland, has declined. As per the preliminary data of the Water Bird census 2021, 19 thousand 544 birds of 62 species have been recorded in the Koshi river. President of the Koshi Bird Society, Sanjib Acharya said 21 thousand 744 water birds of 58 species were counted in Koshi river area in 2019 and 16 thousand and 12 birds of 61 species were recorded in the census conducted in 2020.
Similarly, 15 thousand 496 water birds were recorded in Jagadishpur Ramsar area last year whereas only 12 thousand 476 birds have been counted in this area this year, Bird Conservation Nepal’s zoologist Deu Bahadur Rana said. Likewise, the number of water bird species has been found decreased in Chitwan also this year, according to Bird education Society president Ramesh Chaudhary. The number of birds in the Karnali river and Badhaiya lake area has declined this year compared to the past, President of Bardiya Nature Club Ram Shahi said.  According to Bird Conservation Association Nepal’s conservation officer Krishna Prasad Bhusal, a new species of water bird, the mandarin duck, has been recorded in Pokhara Valley, a new species Pahenlo Thunde Kal Hans has been spotted in Koshi, the rare species in Nepal, the Baikal Gairi has been recorded at Barjutal lake and the rare Thopla Chuchche Nadun Hans has been recorded in Jagadishpur as well, in the latest census.
The census was conducted in collaboration of the Department of national parks and Wildlife Conservation, Bird Conservation Association of Nepal, and the organisation working for the conservation of the Himalayan nature and cirds and biodiversity at the local level. The Wetland International had coordinated the census at the global level. More than 300 persons including experts of this sector, representatives of the organisations concerned and local volunteers were involved in the census. The organizers said the water bird census was conducted by adopting health safety measures in view of the risk of COVID-19 this year.
Birds that breed, live, feed and roam around and spend most of their time in the wetland and surrounding areas are called water birds.  Nepal has more than 100 species of water birds and most of them are migratory birds, it is said. National coordinator of the census, Dr Hem Sagar Baral said that the census is being conducted on voluntary basis and is aimed at raising public awareness on conservation through the participation of the local communities and stakeholder bodies. The water bird census would be conducted in more than 60 wetlands, lakes, ponds and rivers throughout the country. It will be focused more in the wetland areas of the Tarai region.

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