Number of guest birds on the decline | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 19, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 19, 2009

Kaptai Lake

Number of guest birds on the decline


Migratory birds at Kaptai Lake.Photo: STAR

Different species of migratory birds add beauty to the Kaptai Lake in winter, attracting the tourists with their melodious chirping every year.
The birds hover above the lake and its adjoining areas and stay there until beginning of summer to give visitors a magnificent sight. But, the number of migratory birds in the Kaptai Lake area is declining during the last few years.
Bird experts and environmentalists said increase in population, random poaching by hunters, deforestation, forest burn, destruction of habitations, increase in irrigation for agriculture, shortage of water bodies, inadequate rain, decrease in water level, use of pesticides on the croplands, food shortage, lack of conservation programmes and limitation of perching places have attributed to the decrease in guest birds.
There is no sanctuary for birds in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), although there is a lone sanctuary for wildlife under the CHT North Forest Division at Pablakhali under Longudu upazila in Rangamati.
Guest birds are mostly seen in the water bodies at Hazaribagh, Balukhali, Longudu, Mynee, Bogachatar, Betchhari, Maischhari, Hazachhara, Bilchhara, Dighalchhari, Bhusonchhara, Baranachhari, Kachalong and Sazek in the lake.
More than 650 species of foreign birds migrates from Siberian region to some South Asian countries, including Bangladesh. Of them, eleven species of foreign birds are found in CHT, forest department sources said.
The birds that migrate from Siberian region to the CHT are bareheaded goose, Asian opendill, racket tailed, bronzed drongo, pintail, common teal, northern shovller, tufted poacher, ruddy sheduck, black tailed godwit, western curlew, white wagtail, white winglet duck, oystercatcher, common snipe, sandpiper and plover, they said.
There are some other local migratory birds too that dwell in the bushes in the CHT region. They are -- cotton teal (Balihans), lesser whistling duck ( Chhoto Saralihans ) and large whistling duck (Bara Saralihans ), brown shrike, flycatcher, stonechat, pipe bushchat and kestrel, FD sources said.
Besides, about 15 to 20 years ago, different rare species of waterfowls were also seen in the lake but such species have been endangered and many are on the verge of extinction due to random hunting and destruction of habitations, said Anwar Hossain, an environmentalist in Rangamati.
Bird lovers said local waterfowls and migratory birds are being endangered for lack of sanctuaries and measures to conserve them by the forest department.
Md Sanaullah Patwary, deputy conservator of forest in Rangamati , said water sources and plantation of trees will have to increase in the lake areas to create habitations for birds, otherwise the number of birds will reduce remarkably in future.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of CHT North Uttam Kumar Saha said they have no programmes at the moment to conserve the migratory birds but always ask verbally the people not to poach guest birds as part of their motivational programme.
Conservator RK Mojumder said migratory birds are declining due to indiscriminate poaching and a sharp increase in localities in the lake areas.
He said awareness campaign among the people can help reduce the hunting of guest birds.

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