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Bird Paradise of Western Ghats
By Dr.Anand T & Geeta N Pereira
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: We wish to acknowledge and specially thank Mr. Ashley Rasquinha M.S. (U.S.A), (Director - Production, ELECTROPNEUMATICS & HYDRAULICS (I) PVT. LTD. Pune.) for photographing the birds in the wild. Ashley is a friend of nature and devotes precious time for the conservation of wild life. -Dr.Anand T & Geeta N Pereira

April 7, 2009

More Photographs.. Click Here

Birds comprise of approximately 10,000 species and are essential building blocks of biodiversity. Even though, one can see birds in almost all possible environments, a closer look will reveal that each species is unique in its ecology and distribution. Scientists are just now beginning to understand the importance of birds as valuable indicators for global environmental change. For eg.The presence of a particular bird species in a particular area during a particular time indicates the flowering pattern of various wild flowers. Birds provide a wonderful window of opportunity to study and focus on the biodiversity of various biomes because both biodiversity and birds are intricately linked to the web of life. India is one of the worlds top ten countries for diversity of wild life and we as responsible citizens should do all that we can to recognize and protect this wealth which few other Nations have.

The Western Ghats possesses a distinct identity, not only because of its geography but also because of the great diversity of its natural ecosystems. The Western Ghats comprise the mountain range that runs along the western coast of India from the Vindhya-satpura ranges in the North to the Southern tip, and runs through the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, covering an estimated area of 159,000 sq.km. These unique, ecological mountain ranges have not only been classified as mega biodiversity hotspots but have also been recognized as World Biodiversity hotspot by Birdlife International. The stretch has gained global importance because of the exceptional biological richness it supports in a variety of habitats—Evergreen tropical forests, dry alpine scrub, semi evergreen forests, deciduous monsoon forests, thorn jungle scrub forest, mangroves, mixed hill forests, montane grasslands, and scrub forests. The complex topography and the heavy rainfall have made certain areas in accessible have helped the region retain its diversity. Less than 18 % of the Western Ghats is protected by way of game sanctuaries and National parks. (20 national parks and 68 sanctuaries).

INDIA IN RELATION TO THREATENED BIRDS:

The Western Ghats contains over 500 species of birds and are considered as a bird endemic area by Birdlife International. A majority of Karnataka's bird species are from the Western Ghats region.

Threatened birds are found virtually throughout India but their numbers are unsustainable. The western Ghat forest range support groups of species with small and declining ranges. The recently rediscovered Forest Owlet inhabits a few forest fragments in Central India, and a group of birds endemic to the Western Ghats are also globally threatened. Certain species of birds, especially the birds of prey like the eagles, falcons were pushed to the brink of extinction by indiscriminate use of chemicals like DDT. A huge effort by conservationists has helped the population to recover ground.





















More Photographs.. Click Here

Some rare or endemic birds

Malabar Parakeet, Nilgiri Pipit, White bellied blue robin, Broad tailed Grasshird, Black and orange flycatcher, Nilgiri flycatcher, White bellied blue flycatcher, white-bellied minivet ,grey-headed bulbul ,Malabar lark ,great Indian hornbill ,Malabar trogon ,Ceylon frogmouth ,rufous-bellied (hawk) & black eagles ,Malabar woodpecker ,Nilgiri wood pigeon ,white-bellied shortwing ,painted bushquail ,Nilgiri pipit ,Wynaad, Nilgiri & grey-breasted laughing thrushes,Caspian plover,Asian dowitcher,ducks, terns, waders and raptors ,Spoon-billed sandpiper,

KEY BIODIVERSITY AREAS: KBA

We need to accept that all wildlife habitats have been greatly affected by man made activities. Although India has strict laws that protect both wild life and sanctuaries from encroachment, these out dated laws, need to be updated to be in tune with reality. One such concept that has caught the attention of planners is in the formation of Key Biodiversity Areas within the Western Ghats.

These are globally important sites for biodiversity conservation, defined by the presence of irreplaceable and threatened biodiversity: globally threatened species, restricted-range species, and species that concentrate in globally significant numbers. 126 KBA are earmarked as high priorities for conservation action. These are not only important local sites but globally important sites for biodiversity conservation.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP:

The Ministry of Environment and forests, Multilateral and Bilateral donor agencies, including the World Bank, Asian development Bank provide loans and grants to both Government and Non Governmental organizations in the areas of conservation. Successful conservation requires public private partnerships with model citizen groups.

Citizens, students, Government employees need to be educated and informed periodically about natural resource values and the importance of safeguarding these vital links for future generations.

The message that we are trying to convey is that the public can voice their opinion in decision making when vital nesting grounds and other bird habitats are threatened by change in land use pattern like the formation of SEZ or townships.

WORLD SCENARIO:

How many birds are threatened with extinction?

Bird Life International is the leading authority on Birds.

In their latest assessment in 2008, 1,226 species are considered threatened with extinction (i.e. in the categories of Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable and Extinct in the Wild). This represents 12.4% of the total of 9,856 extant bird species in the world. An additional 835 species are considered Near Threatened, giving a total of 2,061 species that are urgent priorities for conservation action. Of the threatened species, 190 species are considered Critically Endangered and are therefore at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

How many birds have gone extinct?

Since the year 1500, we have lost over 150 bird species – an extinction rate far higher than the natural background. Today, one in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction, with 190 species Critically Endangered, and Red List assessments show that things are getting worse. Particularly alarming are sharp declines in many formerly common and widespread species. This is a signal of wider environmental problems, and of the erosion of biodiversity as a whole.

A total of 134 species are documented as having gone extinct since 1500. A further four species are now extinct in the wild and survive only in captive populations. Fifteen such species are categorized as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) or Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct in the Wild). Thus, a total of 153 species may have been lost in the last 500 years.

Bird Life International identifies 218 endemic bird areas where it’s particularly important to focus on conservation of birds, habitat and biodiversity.

The currently designated EBAs account for only 7,300,000 square kilometers of Earth’s land surface (4.5 percent).
More than three quarters are in the tropics or subtropics.
Many are islands or mountain ranges.
All but seven percent of Earth’s 2500 endemic birds live in EBAs.
Each EBA is home to at least two restricted-range endemic birds and some have as many as eighty. Endemic species of other life are also common in these areas.
A diversity of human culture and language is typical in EBAs.

CONCLUSION:

The Western Ghats is an area of exceptional biological diversity. The entire region is threatened due to unplanned human activity. Satellite images clearly shows that this hot spot has already lost a significant part of its original forest cover due to timber extraction, construction of dams, flooding due to sand mining, and overexploitation of natural resources.  Factors such as fragmentation of wetlands, pollution and global-warming are also creating problems. We need to stop the destruction before it is too late.

More Photographs.. Click Here

Archives - Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira :

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Comments on this article
ashikchengappa, gonikoppalTuesday, May 15, 2012
hi geetha,u both r doing a great job of conservation . i have taken few shots of leopard cat kittens.
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vivek colaco, saklehpurThursday, November 12, 2009
The pictures of birds are very nice because I love birds very much and I also thank you for the very nice article of Birds.
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RAKESH, SAKLESHPURWednesday, April 15, 2009
Fantastic pictures & great article. thnks
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Sathyanarayan., TEXASSaturday, April 11, 2009
Birds need to be protected because their rate of extinction is already high. Great pictures.
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Prem Colaço, Sakleshpur/Muscat,Sultanate of Oman.Saturday, April 11, 2009
Dear Dr Anand & Geetha Pereira, I am very fascinated with wildlife right from childhood these pictures on birds have illustrated the various ecosystems in which they survive and adapt . Thank you for these great pics and introducing Mr Ashley Rasquinha's photograph's on these creatures. I find very few people who take up their career/Hobby as an Ornithologist. (Probably when retired!!) You both are doing a great job.Keep it up !Awaiting your next article.
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Dennis D'Souza, M'lore/BombayThursday, April 09, 2009
They say, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, lo and behold the pictures are really wonderful, hats off to Ashley,Anand and Geeta for the pictures and the pains they have taken to bring about this wonderful article. Nature lovers, this is surely a treat.
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Liza Gina Pais, MysoreThursday, April 09, 2009
Anand Uncle,Very nice pictures,I will be using one of the pictures for my school project work on birds,  I liked your article on flying angels- Thank you uncle Anand & Ashley-Liza Gina Pais(Mysore)
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Leona Pais, PuneThursday, April 09, 2009
Anand, A very good job done,Excellent photography,Allen has given me enough information on the Photographer,Do not forget as Allen has told Ashley & you with the family do visit Siddapur where Ashley will have the opportunity of improving on the type of photography,The Dhubare elephant camp will be an ideal location-Regards/Leona Pais
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Leander Pais., SiddapurThursday, April 09, 2009
Hello Uncle Anand its nice to see those beautiful pictures of birds and read the article,which uncle Ashley has clicked. I congratulate uncle Ashley and Uncle Anand  for the excellent job they have provided to all of us @ St Joseph's School Mysore.
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Jatinder Singh, VirginiaThursday, April 09, 2009
Dear Anand, Great work. Looking forward to your next posting.
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J M Bhandary, Mangalore/ USAWednesday, April 08, 2009
Fabulous pictures of the Western Ghats birds. Hope to see continuation of this series.
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Allen Pais, SiddapurWednesday, April 08, 2009
Anand,excellent work again,Ashley Rasquinha has done some fantastic photography, appreciate his good work & contribution towards wild life photography, As a matter of fact if my stars were over turned I would have been an employee of Electro-Pneumatics Mumbai, My interest towards the oil industry turned the table, I yet remember his fathers name as Babti Uncle or Baptist, I last saw him in Bangalore, Ashley seems he has keen interest in birds, I would suggest if he could divert his interest towards carnivorous & herbfourous animal's,We can provide him with the location to shoot his photography & accomodation @ the Dhubare forest in Siddapur INDIA-Cheers & keep up the good work Daijiworld will always support you for sure.
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payal, mangaloreTuesday, April 07, 2009
fantastic pics !!keep up the gud work
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Ivan Frank, MangaloreTuesday, April 07, 2009
Very informative article with good pictures. Poaching and habitat deterioration are the two main causes for the drastic decline of the birds,in fact most of the wild animals. It is the collective responsibility of the Government and the people to preserve and protect the different bird species for the future generation to enjoy.
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Romola Pereira, MangaloreTuesday, April 07, 2009
Birds with their brilliant colours can lighten up our lives. Special thanks to Ashley for the brilliant pictures. Thank you Daiji world too and the authors
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Nihal Joseph Pereira, MangaloreTuesday, April 07, 2009
Fascinating birds. Thank you and wish you and Ashley all the best for the future
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V.Baretto, Bantwal-BangaloreTuesday, April 07, 2009
Nice pictures and article that is informative. Keep it up Anand and Geetha and involve Ashley in such projects.
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Vijay, BangaloreTuesday, April 07, 2009
Great pics, nice article. Thanks to the author and daiji.
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ANIL DSOUZA, MANGALORETuesday, April 07, 2009
The pictures are really too good And the article on birds is very informative Keep up the good work of giving people info on the wild life that is present in the western ghats.
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