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15 Indian bird species among 100 on endangered list: Study

A recent study has identified 100 Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species worldwide and 15 of them are from India

According to a recent global study, 100-plus bird species have been identified as Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE), of which 15 are from India.

A recent study by experts at Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Yale University has identified 100 Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species worldwide. Of the 100 endangered species, 15 are from India.

The study also reveals that most of the habitats are under threat from unsustainable human activities.  

It should be noted that birds are considered to be a good indicator of the condition of the natural environment.

The ZSL – Yale University EDGE list consists of the following 15 Indian species:

Bengal Florican, Forest Owlet, Red-headed Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Jerdon’s Courser, Lesser Florican, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Sociable Lapwing, Siberian Crane, Great Indian Bustard, Greater Adjutant, White-bellied Heron, Wood Snipe, Masked Finfoot and Christmas Island Frigatebird. BNHS-India has been conducting research and conservation activities for 12 of these species. BNHS has been working on the first 12 species, directly or in partnership with other organisations.

Bengal Florican, Lesser Florican, Great Indian Bustard, Sociable Lapwing and Jerdon’s Courser are birds that are under threat due to the destruction of their habitat of grasslands and scrub forests. The survival of Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Siberian Crane and White-bellied Heron greatly depends on the existence of their wetland habitat. Forest Owlet survival is impossible if its habitat of deciduous forests in central India is destroyed. Thus, it is obvious that a variety of habitats in the country are threatened by human factors such as uncontrolled urbanization, unsustainable industrialisation and rampant use of chemicals in agriculture.

According to Dr Asad Rahmani, Director, BNHS said, “Habitats such as grasslands and wetlands and the species inhabiting them have long been neglected in the conservation process in India. Comprehensive conservation action based on in-depth field research is required to save these species from going extinct. Today these habitats are facing some of the most severe human pressures, which endanger the survival of the avian populations found there”.

Complimenting the conservation efforts in India, internationally renowned conservationist Dr AJT Johnsingh said, “It is gratifying to note that organizations like BNHS are promoting conservation programs for 12 of the 15 EDGE bird species that occur in India, so as to try and ensure their future survival”.

About the study

The study conducted by ZSL and Yale University shortlisted hundred of the world’s most globally threatened species ranging from the ankle-high Spoon-billed Sandpiper to the prehistoric looking Greater Adjutant, which stands as tall as an adult human.

EDGE birds represent millions of years of unique evolutionary history.

These unique birds are today threatened with extinction.

ZSL experts emphasize on the need to prioritize conservation efforts.

These birds illustrate the incredible diversity that exists in the natural world.

They were identified in a research paper recently published in Current Biology.

The EDGE birds study is a part of ZSL’s EDGE of Existence programme, which has also developed priority lists for mammals, amphibians and corals.

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