Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Study- India's Ten Bird Sanctuaries in Danger of Unsustainable Development

A recent study has warned that ten bird sanctuaries and biodiversity areas across India are under severe threat of being destroyed due to unsustainable developmental practices. Among these sanctuaries, two are located in the state of Maharashtra. The report, named "Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas: A Global Network for Conserving Nature and Benefiting People", was developed by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) in association with BirdLife International. A spokesperson for the BNHS pointed out that one part of the report titled "IBAs in Danger" listed ten major bird areas in danger of being lost forever unless urgent restorative measurements would be launched to protect them. Some of these sites in danger include the village of Basai in Gurgaon district, the Flamingo City of Gujarat's Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in Solapur, Mumbai's Mahul-Sewri Creek, Ranebennur Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka's Haveri district, the island of Tillangchong in the Nicobar Archipelago, and four in Madhya Pradesh including Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary in Ratlam. Presented at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, the report indicated that the ten threatened IBAs contain habitats like forests, grasslands, and coastal and inland wetlands which are in the greatest danger of losing their important biodiversity. In addition, there are several other IBAs under pressure from different types of  unsustainable practices. Apart from attracting and caring for different species of birds, most of these IBAs give ecosystem benefits such as natural pest control if properly managed, tourism potential, and water supply for drinking and irrigation. The report also listed some of the biggest causes behind the loss of biodiversity and habitat in IBAs, which included destruction or turmoils because of infrastructure developments, extensive grazing of livestock outside the limits of historic rural lands, and wrong anti-people conservation policies. Other issues include random agricultural expansion, poaching, industrial and sewage pollution, and accelerated urbanization. Furthermore, 356 of the 12,000 IBAs in 122 countries are in similar danger even though half of them are lawfully protected.
Great Indian bustard

It is extremely disturbing to see that some of India's IBAs are under a tremendous threat of human-made threats and unsustainable development. These areas not only provide accommodation for birds, but also provide ecosystem benefits such as tourism potential, natural pest control and water supply for drinking and irrigation. If these areas continue to be affected by unsustainable human practices, then people living in the countryside would not receive ample water to conduct irrigation. In other words, the threats these IBAs are facing will not just destroy them but also impact the livelihood of farmers and other people living in the countryside. Furthermore, these IBAs would lose their potential as tourist attractions. This would tremendously affect the economy and socioeconomic growth of India and other countries where bird sanctuaries and biodiversity areas are facing similar situations. This is why it is extremely essential to undertake urgent restorative measures to ensure that IBAs and biodiversity areas in India and other countries will survive. Some species of birds like the great Indian bustard is critically endangered and one of its key strongholds, the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, is under a great deal of threat from unsustainable development practices. This sanctuary is one of several sanctuaries in India being used to help this magnificent bird rebound from the brink of extinction. If the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary becomes destroyed, it would have an ominous impact on the conservation and recovery efforts being implemented save the bird. Therefore, the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary and all other bird sanctuaries across India and other countries listed as being in tremendous danger of unsustainable development should be heavily protected by any means necessary.

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