By Ranjana Diggikar
Aurangabad: The Aurangabad forest department here is gearing up to conduct census and status of water-birds as well as wetlands in Aurangabad and Jalna districts in two phases on December 21 and January 11. The department will take up the exercise as part of the Asian Water-Bird Census (AWC), 2014. The census which is conducted annually will be carried out across the country. In Marathwada it is being conducted in coordination with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), NGOs, bird lovers and students.
A D Bhosale, deputy conservator, Aurangabad forest department, said, "The department has received directions from the state principal chief conservator of forests (Wildlife), Nagpur, Sarjan Bhagat, to check the status of the water-birds and the wetlands in Aurangabad and Jalna district."
He said, "The exercise is part of the Asian Water-Bird Census (AWC), which is part of a global water-bird monitoring programme, the International Water-bird Census (IWC). It also aims to increase awareness on issues related to wetland and water-bird conservation. The census is carried out as a voluntary activity at national level."
"The census has three major objectives such as to obtain information on an annual basis of water-bird population at wetlands in the region during the non-breeding period of most species, as a basis for evolution of sites and monitoring of population, to monitor on an annual basis the status and condition of wetlands and to encourage greater interest in water-birds and wetlands and thereby promote conservation," said Bhosale.
He said, "The census would be conducted in coordination with NGOs, local bird lovers, BNHS and students from 7 am to 11 am. We have identified over 20 wetlands in both the districts."
Bird lover Kishore Pathak who will be coordinating the census said that over 150 different types of birds are found at various wetlands in Marathwada. "Popular wetlands such as Jayakwadi reservoir, Salim Ali lake, Sukhana dam, Sarola, Tembhapuri and Moti Talav attract around 30-32 species of migratory and 70 species of resident birds."
"The annual water-bird monitoring programme provides great opportunity to bird lovers as it highlights the beauty, diversity and abundance of water-birds and wetlands, conservation challenges and opportunities," said Bhosale.
"According to the AWC 2014 in India, a new Excel-based AWC count and site form has been introduced to assist both participants and state coordinators to enter, check and submit their information quicker and more efficiently with the added aim of reducing data entry errors from submission of paper count forms," said Bhosale.