Migratory Birds Flowing To Lotak Lake Decreased — Official - Eastern Mirror
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Migratory birds flowing to Lotak lake decreased — official

By Our Correspondent Updated: Nov 06, 2017 10:05 pm

Our Correspondent
Imphal, Nov. 6 (EMN): The changes in climate, hydrology and the ways the humans alter the landscape of their habitat forced to dwindle the number of migratory birds visiting Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in North East India.
Deputy Conservator of Forest (Park and Sanctuary) Arun RS, while comparing with previous year’s department observed drastic reduction in the number of migratory birds this year. They (migratory birds) came in groups but hardly spent for one week (against their usual stay of 3 to 4 months) and went away from Loktak to some other places.
The forest officer felt that the major reasons of the scenario could be attributed to the high water level, use of LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs for fishing which causes disturbance at night for the birds reducting its food availability.
The use of LED lights throughout the night in the lake for fishing was detected in their annual water birds including migratory birds census cum survey in January conducted by the Wildlife wing of state forest department and Manipur based NGO Centre for Conservation of Nature and Cultivation of Science across 50 different locations at Loktak and its associated lakes. Such practice was on since 2014 onwards.
The team found a minimum of 170 LED bulbs hanging on the bamboo poles implanted for the large deep fishing nets across 11 water bird congregation sites of the lake covering 1 sq km of the lake which officially covers an area of 236.21 sq km, creating an issue of ‘light pollution’ that ultimately hit the natural nesting, and breeding period and foraging behaviours of resident the water birds of the lake.
The state Coordinator RK Birjit of Indian Bird Conservation Network, Manipur believes that the birds might have diverted their migratory routes this time to a marginal habitat where it may have succumbed to starvation or death. Birjit also admitted that they hardly spotted around 5000 birds under 17 species in January this year against last year’s report of sighting about 47,088 birds under 68 species.
A total of 50,725 Waterbird including migratory birds’ populations belonging to 65 species visited the lake in 2015 against 32,852 Waterbird belonging to 57 species in 2014.
Besides more scientific study is also required to understand what is happening to migratory birds and how they are — and aren’t — able to cope. Because water birds and migratory birds in particular being the biological indicators plays a vital role in maintaining the dying eco-system of Loktak and environment in general after the commissioning of Ithai barrage in 1983 disturbs the hydrology of the lake.
Sighting of a minimum of around 20,000 or more water birds in a year besides the presence of rare state animal-Sangai (brow antlered deer) Keibul Lamjao, the world’s only floating sanctuary also supports the status of a Ramsar site, Birjit observed. If the number of water birds increases, it will not only attract tourists but will also give a positive message that lake’s ecology is okay.
In villages around Loktak, arrival of migratory birds which came from Northern Asia, Europe, America – flying 3,2000-4,800 kilometers over the Himalayan ranges, herald the onset of winter in the state. Lesser whistling duck which once outnumbered all other birds such as cattle egret, gadwall, common moorhen and common teal-sighted during 2014 census was comparatively low this time.
The concerned officials of Loktak Development Authority, who looks after the status of the lake, could not be contacted for their comments as they were out of the station when the report was filed. But appealed for timely intervention by the state authority is pouring in from various quarters to restore the resources and its biodiversity of the Lakes for present and future generations as the people are looking forward for a sustainable livelihood across the globe.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Nov 06, 2017 10:05:21 pm
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