Nepal’s first bird sanctuary takes flight, sparking hope for conservation

  • The lake complex of Ghodaghodi in western Nepal has been declared the country’s first official bird sanctuary.
  • Conservationists and local officials hailed the move, which protects a Ramsar wetland that is home to more than 360 bird species.
  • Among the birds found at the site are globally threatened species such as the great hornbill, lesser adjutant stork and Indian spotted eagle.

KATHMANDU – Conservationists hailed the declaration of Nepal’s first official bird sanctuary as a big boost for more than a dozen globally threatened species.

Ghodaghodi complex, a wetland located in Sudurpashchim province in western Nepal, was recently declared a bird sanctuary by the provincial and municipal governments of Ghodaghodi. More than 360 bird species, some native and some migratory, have been recorded at the complex, which covers 2,563 hectares (6,330 acres).

“Just declaring the area a bird sanctuary is not enough,” said Sudurpashchim Chief Minister Trilochan Bhatta. “It is everyone’s duty to conserve the natural, religious and historical significance of this site.

The Ghodaghodi complex, included on the list of wetlands of global importance under the Ramsar Convention, includes a series of lakes, marshes and forests. Image by Shiva Goutam on Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0)

Populations of a dozen bird species, such as the great hornbill (Buceros bicornis), lesser adjutant stork (Leptoptilos javanicus) and the Indian spotted eagle (clanga hastata), are in global decline.

“The launch of the country’s first bird sanctuary sends the message that local governments are also committed to biodiversity conservation,” ornithologist Hem Sagar Baral told Mongabay. “This comes at a time of growing concern that with conservation and protected areas under the federal government, local governments are not taking ownership of conservation efforts,” added Baral, who is also the representative national park of Nepal for the zoo. London Company.

The Ghodaghodi complex, included on the list of wetlands of global importance under the Ramsar Convention, includes a series of lakes, marshes and forests. It is located on the lower slopes of Siwalik, the youngest hills in the Himalayan region. The complex provides a critical wildlife corridor between the southern plains and the Siwalik Hills, and is part of the habitat of endangered species such as the Bengal tiger (panther tiger), the red-topped turtle (Batagur kachuga) and the Aerides odorata orchid. The religiously significant Indian lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) and rare wild rice (Hygrohiza aristata) have also been reported in the region.

The federal laws of Nepal do not contain provisions for declaring a bird sanctuary area, but the provincial government of Sudurpashchim has prepared separate legislation to allow Ghodaghodi to be declared the first such site.

“However, detailed procedures on how the site should be managed from now on still need to be prepared,” Baral said.

Threats to the site include intensive traditional fishing and agriculture, road traffic on its southern edge, construction of new unplanned temples, overgrazing, poaching and hunting, and illegal logging of trees, according to Ramsar Sites Information Service.

“Hopefully the new initiative will help address threats and conserve the crucial site,” Baral said.

As the site is close to the border with India, Baral said he thinks it could be promoted as a great destination to attract more Indian tourists, who are already visiting the area.

Feedback: Use this form to send a message to the author of this message. If you want to post a public comment, you can do so at the bottom of the page.

Banner image: teal (Spatula querquedula) swimming in Lake Ghodaghodi in western Nepal. Although they breed in Europe and across the Palearctic, they migrate to the Indian subcontinent in winter. Image courtesy Krishna Pd Bhushal.

About Theresa Burton

Check Also

The crash of Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771

On May 12, 2010, Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 crashed on approach to Tripoli International Airport, …