PROTECTION OF MIGRATORY BIRDS
By Naeem Javid
What is Migration?
By Migration, it is meant that moving as part of a bird, fish, or other animal population from one region to another, usually at the same times every year, in order to breed or avoid inept weather conditions.
Migratory Common Cranes passing over Sirenda Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, Sonmiani, Lasbela Balochistan
Video Courtesy: Sharifuddin Conservator of Wildlife Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department
Why Migration is Necessary?
Migration, more often than not, involves movement from one area to another and then back again. This round-trip, or return migration, may be of a seasonal nature, as in the spring and autumn migrations of many birds. Or it may require a lifetime to complete, as in various species of Pacific salmon that are born in freshwater streams, travel to ocean waters, and then return to the stream where they were born to breed before dying. Migration occurs in almost all animal groups but it is more pronounced in birds.
Migration of Birds and Status of Pakistan
Pakistan is gifted with a rich variety of such birds which include several species of ducks, geese, swans, cranes, and others. During the migration season, at least 1 million waterfowl representing more than 100 species visit the extensive deltas, coasts, and wetlands of Pakistan.
Birds find their way by a form of compass navigation and it has been experimentally shown that they migrate by using the sun’s position combined with an innate sense of time. The night migrations are oriented by stars. The traditional route taken by migrating birds is known as Flyway whereas Flyway No. 4 is term is used for Indus Flyway.
For better and intensive management of Migratory Birds especially falcons, houbara, waterfowls – a group that includes ducks, geese, and swans, often breed on freshwater lakes and marshes, although they sometimes make their homes in marine habitats.
Steps Required to Protect Migratory Birds
- Since the waterfowl spend lives in wetlands so the proper mgt of wetlands is a prerequisite to the management of waterfowl.
- Creation of Artificial Nesting Sites is another important management aspect which includes construction of rafts.
- Various predators like foxes, raccoon, crows, etc and their damage should be controlled.
- Environmental contamination/pollution should be minimized.
- Poisoning in waterfowl, overuse of insecticides, pesticides, and other chemicals should be minimized.
- Diseases in waterfowl should be controlled like viral diseases, fungal diseases, bacterial diseases, and toxins, etc.
- Introduction and Restocking of Endangered Species through captive breeding.
- Regulating Waterfowl shooting pressure.
- Regulating hunting and improving Bag limit in the light of a total population.
- Establishment of Protected Areas ie Sanctuaries, National Parks, Wildlife Reserves, etc.
- The Ministry of Climate Change is to be involved in this regard to take strict measures on federal levels on the import/export of such birds.
- Provision of sufficient resources to the Wildlife Department in the red-season.
- Last but not least is Public awareness. It needs community participation, the establishment of non-hunting community and conservation education.