By Shainu Mohan
Poaching, environment pollution and inorganic farming are adversely affecting many bird species in the state, according to the list of the threatened birds published by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB).
Four species–spoon-billed sandpiper, white-rumped vulture, Indian vulture and red-headed vulture have been listed as the most critically endangered. Around 43 bird species are included in the list under categories–critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable and near-threatened.
KSBB Chairman Oommen V. Oommen told DC that the state lacked database on the conservation status of birds. He said that extensive use of pesticides for corp cultivation is adversely affecting the survival of the species.
“We decided to have a database of our own to initiate measures to protect the species. Natural eco-system is fast depleting and most of the threatened birds are unable to survive in the changing habitat often because of the intervention of humans,” he said.
To conserve the species, the board has invited applications from taxonomy experts for monitoring and identifying birds and organisms in the state. “Taxonomy experts will keep track of the conservation status of the threatened birds,” said KSBB member secretary K.P. Laladhas.
He said that switching to organic farming is needed to save the birds. There are about 475 species of birds in the state. “Launching awareness programmes among public is the only way to protect them,” Laladhas said. Currently, there are 24 bird areas with suitable habitat which include Amarambalam reserve forest, Aralam wildlife sanctuary, Chimmony wildlife sanctuary, Konni reserve forest and Periyar tiger reserve.
Technical Associate Ms Preetha N. said that depletion of wetlands and cutting down trees have also taken a toll on the bird population. Six birds have been listed as endangered, 14 vulnerable and 19 near-threatened birds in the list published by the board.