Waterbirds On Wane

Expert analyses at the global, regional, country, taxonomic group or species level all indicate that populations of many previously common waterbird species are decreasing.

'Wild Orissa' celebrated World Wetlands Day today with the 1st Subarnarekha Waterbirds Census on a stretch from Jaleswar to Chaumukh in Balasore district of Odisha.

This census was coordinated by Saishree Patra from 'Wild Orissa'. On this day many wildlife conservationists, bird lovers, ornithologists, research scholars, students, fishermen and local community came together for counting waterbirds.

Small teams were constituted which was tasked with coverage of a particular sector of the River Subarnarekha in a synchronized manner started from early morning.

This census was conducted under aegis of Asian Waterbirds Census, an annual event which is being conducted in Odisha state since 1987, and for which 'Wild Orissa' is the State Coordinator being represented by its Secretary.

Total of 2000 waterbirds were counted from parts of the Subarnarekha River consisting of 20 waterbird species today.

The comparatively low number of waterbirds was due to various economic activities being undertaken like fishing, brick kilns, agriculture, boating, etc. and also due to little late season counting.

It is felt that waterbirds number could be higher in peak winter time, though with habitat specific conservation initiatives could see increase in waterbirds in certain stretches of this river and its' surroundings. 'Wild Orissa' states that waterbirds represent one of the most obvious indicators of the health and diversity of these critical ecosystems and provide a sobering insight into the scale of the threats they face.

'Wild Orissa' is contributing to global efforts to safeguard wetlands for people and wildlife, by way of assisting the implementation and development of national legislation, training, field research, awareness-raising and site management on-the-ground.

Populations of waterbirds throughout the world are suffering declines and Asia is particularly seriously affected. Water birds are a diverse group of over 30 families which are characteristic of, and ecologically dependent on wetland habitats.

Many waterbird species are highly visible, often occurring in spectacular concentrations. Wetland ecosystems support a wide variety of biodiversity and throughout the world, human livelihoods depend upon their condition.

Waterbirds represent one of the most obvious indicators of the health and diversity of such ecosystems. 

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