Weekly Current Affairs

Asian waterbird census data causes mixed feelings [Biodiversity]

  • At a time when the wetlands of the State are facing multi-pronged threats, the population of a few bird species has been found soaring whereas some others have nose-dived in the population chart.
  • Researchers focused their attention on the data generated from four Ramsar sites of Kerela - Sasthamkotta Lake, Ashtamudi Lake, Vembanad Lake and Kole Wetlands - and also the other important wetland habitats to get a bird’s eye view of the population trends of wetland avian fauna.
  • The brightly coloured purple swamphen have thrived amidst widespread destruction of its habitats. Its population increased in Kerala during last decade.
  • The annual census, coordinated by Wetlands International, also happens to be the first country-wide citizen science activity on natural history in India.
  • The painted stork, earlier evaluated as a vagrant visitor to wetlands of Malabar and south Kerala has spread beyond the region they are generally found predicted ornithologists (one who studies branch of science devoted to birds).
  • Indian spotbilled duck, glossy ibis, oriental darter, Asian woollyneck and spotbilled pelican recorded increased presence whereas the population of the river terns and cormorants remained stable.
  • The population of whiskered tern, which form the major chunk of the population of the terns in the State, too has fallen significantly.
  • The BirdLife International has recorded that 11 water bird species of Kerala come under the IUCN Red list threatened categories with the black bellied tern being one of the "Endangered" waterbird species in Kerala.
  • Demographic pressure, industrial development, pollution, urbanisation, agriculture, aquaculture and water transport put pressure on wetlands of State.