Udaipur : Exhibiting concern over the declining number of birds in the region, authorities and nature enthusiasts agreed upon an” Udaipur Declaration on Birds” to protect and conserve the avian species from threats. The Declaration came as the outcome of the three day ‘ Bird Fair’ which was held here jointly by the Forest and Tourism department. The Fair that ended on Monday was succeeded in its objective to bring organizations, academicians, media , general mass as well as the armed forces in Bird Conservation at one platform and collectively decide the necessary measures for their protection and conservation.
During the event, various teams moved to different water bodies including Jawai Dam in Pali, Menar, Ghasa, Mangalwar and Nangawali in Udaipur and Gap Sagar, Mathu Gamra in Dungarpur district respectively. Teams not only enjoyed the bird watching but also documented the sighted species, their distribution and local ecological characteristics. The experiences and learning of birding exercise was shared on Monday and a declaration on birds was prepared. The teams expressed their worried on the declining number of bird species and their population. “There is noticing decline in certain species like Bar-headed Geese, Painted Stork, Greyleg Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, species of Sandpipers and Wagtails etc. Human activities was pointed out as the major cause of destruction in the bird habitats” said Rahul Bhatnagar, CCF (Wild Life). Birding teams found mining operations going on near wetlands. They also found invasion of noxious weed species like Prosopis juliflora (Vilayati Babool) replacing the native plant species hence reducing breeding and nesting sites of Birds as well as reducing the food base of herbivore birds. At most of the places conflict of human needs and wildlife (bird) habitat was perceived.
Participants recommended various measures to reduce human-wildlife conflict and promotion of regulated wildlife centric eco-tourism activities. Participants suggested check on fishing activities and recommended at least 50% area of wetlands be kept free of any commercial activity like fishing, boating, bathing, recreation etc. Eradication of Invasive alien species like P. juliflora be carried out in phases, was another strong recommendation from the birding teams. Community antipathy towards wild species needs to be rectified and local/village level ‘Pakshi Mitra’ (Friends of Birds) be recognized as local guides for visiting bird watchers. The gathering agreed that tourism activities should be promoted with due consideration of wildlife conservation and protection of natural habitats. Noted ornithologist Dr. Asad Rahmani suggested for identification of cluster IBA sites (Important Bird Areas)and asked forest department to give recommendation for potential sites, which BNHS will consider in the next IBA list.