Environmentalists and bird lovers are alarmed by the rapid decline of local bird species from the forests of the Dooars region. They warn forest areas here could soon lose the legacy of being home to numerous bird species, including parakeets, mynahs, open billed storks and cuckoos to name just a few.
Ornithologists say habitat loss and poaching are the main reasons for the decline and if these continue, there could be a massive loss for the tourism industry of North Bengal.
Leading ornithologist Sanjeeb Mukherjee, one of the founder members of the Birder's Club in the Dooars, said, "The main cause of decline in local varieties of birds in the region is rampant poaching and increasing ecological imbalance, caused chiefly due to the loss of habitat for accommodating the ever growing human population."
He said lack of awareness among local residents has also contributed to the decrease in bird numbers including other wildlife. Mukherjee also blamed corruption within the forest department as one of the causative factors behind the drop in bird numbers.
The rapid and drastic change in the character of the jungles due to constant human interference in the absence of proper security is another key reason behind the depletion of birds from the region, he said.
According to Mukherjee, the installation of numerous mobile phone towers in the region that release harmful radiation has also played a significant role in the decrease of birds.
Meanwhile, Jalpaiguri district forest officer Bidyut Sarkar said the department has constructed several bird watching towers and organised camps to spread awareness among locals.