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Significant decline recorded in migratory birds in Dhubri dist

By Irfan Khondker

DHUBRI, Dec 25 - Unlike every year this year, a significant decline has been recorded in the number of migratory birds flocking to Dhubri district.

Every year from mid-November to December, thousands of migratory birds of various species throng the district. However, according to local environmentalists, this year significant decline has been observed, particularly in the goose and falcon family.

According to Sarfaraj Hussain Khan, a local environmentalist informs that common coot, bar headed goose, grey legged goose, red headed pochard, grey heron, gadwall, great cormorant, black headed seagull, northern pintail, ruddy shelduck (chokowa) etc., come in thousands to various places of the district. The Eurasian curlew, an endangered species listed in IUCN red-list also visits this area every year, but has not been spotted this year till now.

He also said that spotted eagle, long legged buzzard, osprey also visit this place every year. �But this year the number of such birds have seen a significant decline. By this time of the year, almost all the birds arrive. But we are yet to spot many of the species particularly the curlew� added Khan who said that such birds are mostly spotted in the beels, river basins of the district and in the Majerchar, Birsing-Jurwa, Fakirganj, Medartary, Sukshar, Tumni and Gosaidubi areas. Peomod Kr Roy, another environmentalist said that such decline may be because of the wide scale poaching of some of the birds particularly of the goose family. �Although we don�t see much of illegal trade of such migratory birds in the open market, but the goose, specially the Ruddy Shelduck, also known as chokowa in the local language, are in high demand and are very much traded,� added Roy. He also informed that as such birds are sold in many of the weekly markets of the district and are sold by poachers house-to-house, so it is tough to track them down.

Meanwhile, Mridupawan Phukan, an environmentalist who is engaged in documenting the birds of this area since the last few years, said that poaching cannot only be blamed for such a decline. He said that increase in the number of brick kilns in the area, particularly, by the sides of the water bodies forces the birds to migrate to other nearby areas.

�Such brick kilns emit heat and harm the natural habitat, so these birds are slowly moving to the water bodies nearby which many be several kilometres away,� added the environmentalist, who also said that in the Dhubri area, apart from poaching, another illegal trade is active which has also hampered the bird number.

�During this time it is seen that a few skilled hunters come to this area and catch birds belonging to the falcon and owl families alive, which are later illegally exported to other states and even countries,� said Phukan.

However, sources in the Forest Department said that they are doing their level best to check such trades. �We have also sensitised the local police about such trades, and they have taken the matter seriously�.

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Significant decline recorded in migratory birds in Dhubri dist

DHUBRI, Dec 25 - Unlike every year this year, a significant decline has been recorded in the number of migratory birds flocking to Dhubri district.

Every year from mid-November to December, thousands of migratory birds of various species throng the district. However, according to local environmentalists, this year significant decline has been observed, particularly in the goose and falcon family.

According to Sarfaraj Hussain Khan, a local environmentalist informs that common coot, bar headed goose, grey legged goose, red headed pochard, grey heron, gadwall, great cormorant, black headed seagull, northern pintail, ruddy shelduck (chokowa) etc., come in thousands to various places of the district. The Eurasian curlew, an endangered species listed in IUCN red-list also visits this area every year, but has not been spotted this year till now.

He also said that spotted eagle, long legged buzzard, osprey also visit this place every year. �But this year the number of such birds have seen a significant decline. By this time of the year, almost all the birds arrive. But we are yet to spot many of the species particularly the curlew� added Khan who said that such birds are mostly spotted in the beels, river basins of the district and in the Majerchar, Birsing-Jurwa, Fakirganj, Medartary, Sukshar, Tumni and Gosaidubi areas. Peomod Kr Roy, another environmentalist said that such decline may be because of the wide scale poaching of some of the birds particularly of the goose family. �Although we don�t see much of illegal trade of such migratory birds in the open market, but the goose, specially the Ruddy Shelduck, also known as chokowa in the local language, are in high demand and are very much traded,� added Roy. He also informed that as such birds are sold in many of the weekly markets of the district and are sold by poachers house-to-house, so it is tough to track them down.

Meanwhile, Mridupawan Phukan, an environmentalist who is engaged in documenting the birds of this area since the last few years, said that poaching cannot only be blamed for such a decline. He said that increase in the number of brick kilns in the area, particularly, by the sides of the water bodies forces the birds to migrate to other nearby areas.

�Such brick kilns emit heat and harm the natural habitat, so these birds are slowly moving to the water bodies nearby which many be several kilometres away,� added the environmentalist, who also said that in the Dhubri area, apart from poaching, another illegal trade is active which has also hampered the bird number.

�During this time it is seen that a few skilled hunters come to this area and catch birds belonging to the falcon and owl families alive, which are later illegally exported to other states and even countries,� said Phukan.

However, sources in the Forest Department said that they are doing their level best to check such trades. �We have also sensitised the local police about such trades, and they have taken the matter seriously�.

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