Every year 12+ lakh Indian native birds die due to human made causes.
Our mission is clear: to conserve native birds and their habitats across India. In doing so, we benefit not only Indian birds but all other species as well.
WHY BIRD CONSERVATION IS IMPORTANT?
The latest International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Birds (2013) shows that fifteen bird species in India continue to be Critically Endangered (CR). Moreover, three other bird species now face greater danger than before. These species have been up listed to Near Threatened (NT) and Vulnerable (VU) categories.
These birds are now considered extinct for all practical purposes. The species that have been unlisted (facing greater danger) in 2013 IUCN list are:
1. River Lapwing and River Tern, both unlisted from Least Concern to Near Threatened.
2. Long-tailed Duck unlisted from Least Concern to Vulnerable. Destruction of wetlands and riverine habitats has been the cause of decline of these species.
Commenting on the state of affairs, BNHS-India Director, Dr Asad Rahmani said, “There is an urgent need to conserve the remaining habitats and species dependent on them, based on insightful scientific field research. Policies that ensure this through sustainable development should be framed and implemented urgently”.
Hundreds of bird species are on a track toward extinction. If these species blink out, we’ll have just one species to blame: ours. A casual observer might not notice, but take a closer look. Across India, fewer birds inhabit our landscapes. Some familiar birds, like the Wood Thrush, are 50 percent less common than they were 50 years ago. This thrush is just one of dozens of native bird species in India that may face extinction in the next decades, if current trends continue. In fact, across East India, 12 percent of 4,230 bird species are declining in population and headed for extinction in our lifetimes without immediate conservation action.
2) HABITAT LOSS:
Rain-forests are felled. Woodlots become parking lots. With so much habitat loss, is it any wonder many bird species are in decline? These are the impacts of habitat loss and poor habitat management, often unnoticed but in fact the biggest cause of bird declines. Over the past 150 years, as the world has industrialized and the human population has soared past 7 billion, our landscapes have changed dramatically: To stabilize bird populations and prevent extinctions, it's critical that we find the most effective ways to save habitat and influence best management practices. Fortunately, these are some of the things IBC does best.
They are readily available on store shelves, used on everything from produce to pets. But many pesticides have harmful, even deadly, impacts. Thousands of Swainson's Hawks were found dead in agricultural fields in Tamil Nadu in the mid-2001. When the mystery was solved, a commonly used pesticide was identified as the culprit. It's just one example of pesticides marketed as “safe” later being deemed deadly, and it's why our Pesticides Program works so hard to eliminate toxic chemicals. The rat poison d-CON is another example. It was long ago discovered to be deadly to predators, like hawks and owls. These rap-tors die after eating rodents sickened by the poison. It took many years of advocacy and legal action to convince the maker to pull the worst of these products from retail shelves.
People across the globe consume fish caught by fisheries. But many bird species—from Kingfisher to albatrosses—need fish to survive. Seabirds—species like Laysan Albatross and Pink-footed Shear water—are “off the radar” for most people. We simply don't think about these birds that spend most of their lives over the open ocean. That's why it may come as a surprise to realize that human activities and fisheries in particular are a taking a great toll on these long-lived birds, now the most threatened group of birds on Earth. Dual Threat: Overfishing and By catch Overfishing is depleting many seabirds' main food. In recent years, fisheries have begun to take not only fish for people to eat, but harvesting ever-smaller forage fish as feed for cattle and pigs. This means even fewer fish for seabirds to eat. A related threat is “bycatch,” when fisheries accidentally catch wildlife other than fish, like sea turtles and dolphins. Few realize that seabirds, including the critically endangered Waved Albatross, are among fisheries' unintended victims. Among fishing methods, longlines with hundreds or even thousands or baited hooks kill at least 320,000 seabirds yearly. Gillnets, which can stretch for a mile in length, take at least 400,000. Because of a lack of data, these figures probably represent an extreme low end of the spectrum.
Climate change is already affecting birds and their habitats. We’re acting to conserve birds in ways that also reduce carbon emissions. As a looming threat to birds and human civilization, global climate change will be an increasing focus of conservation in the coming decades. Birds that are already rare and declining will face additional risk as some current threats intensify, such as degradation or loss of habitat and spread of invasive species. More frequent and severe weather events may further stress bird populations. Changes in climate patterns can upset the synchronization of bird migrations, such as the arrival of Red Knots on traditional feeding grounds on the Delaware Bay when horseshoe crab eggs are most abundant. The destruction of forests releases carbon and hastens climate change. Studies show that deforestation accounts for 14 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Conversely, reforestation and preventing deforestation are two strategies we can take to slow climate change. Many of our bird conservation projects protect carbon-rich tropical forests. For example, by creating or expanding 90 bird reserves, we have protected nearly one million acres, keeping forest carbon in the ground. Our tree-planting efforts restore forests that help to keep our climate stable. In one area ofalone, more than one million trees have been planted.
6) LACK OF RESOURCES:
Lots of people love birds. Even so, lack of financial resources and political will threaten the measures needed to protect them. Are Birds Out of Sight, Out of Mind? People tend to see at least a few species of birds in their daily lives. As a result, most people don't realize that how many less-frequently-observed bird species are at risk of extinction. We believe this lack of awareness translates to a lack of resources for birds. Still fewer people probably realize that protecting birds means protecting habitats that support a vast array of plants and other wildlife. When we take action to protect a bird species like Blue-billed Curassow or Cerulean Warbler, entire ecosystems are preserved. These protected places help people, too, by ensuring sources of fresh water and slowing climate change.
What does the Indian Bird Conservancy - IBC TEAM do?
The IBC TEAM has created a far-reaching protection scheme for all of India's wild birds, identifying 194 species and sub-species (listed in Annex I) among them as particularly threatened and in need of special conservation measures. There are a number of components to this scheme:
Member States are required to designate Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for the 194 threatened species and all migratory bird species. SPAs are scientifically identified areas critical for the survival of the targeted species, such as wetlands. The SPAs form part of Natura 2000, India's network of protected nature sites, which was established in 1992. The designation of an area as a SPA gives it a high level of protection from potentially damaging developments.
A second component bans activities that directly threaten birds, such as the deliberate killing or capture of birds, the destruction of their nests and taking of their eggs, and associated activities such as trading in live or dead birds (with a few exceptions).
One species after another is losing the safety net provided by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Now, the Farm Bill and Interior Appropriations Bill include language that would exempt species from ESA protection or reduce habitat protection for currently listed species.