New Delhi, April 25: More than 350 species of bird migrate to India even as there has been a decline in the number of some of these migratory avians due to various reasons, including pollution of wetland by domestic sewage, Rajya Sabha was told on Monday, April 25.
"Although no specific assessment is conducted by the Ministry (Environment) with respect to species of migratory birds visiting India, literatures published by experts, including scientific institutions, suggest that about 370 species of birds migrate to India out of which 175 species undertake long-distance migration using Central Asian flyway area which also include amur falcons, Egyptian vultures, plovers, ducks, storks, ibises, flamingoes, jacanas, pochards and others," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
In a written reply, he said as per the 'Asian Water Bird Census' coordinated by Wetlands International, some migratory birds in the region showed a decreasing trend during the last decade while some species indicated a stable population.
"The decline in the number of migratory birds is attributed to various factors including wetland reclamation, pollution of wetland through domestic sewage, hunting, trapping of migratory routes, indiscriminate use of pesticides and fertilizers, reduction of habitat, climate change," he said.
On the steps taken by the government for protection of migratory birds, Javadekar said rarer and endangered species are included in the Schedule 1 of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 thereby according the highest degree of protection.
Other steps also include stringent punishments for violation of the Act, notification of important habitats of these birds as protected areas, establishment of wildlife crime control bureau for control of illegal trade and others.