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Rare birds found breeding in Nara sanctuary

The Daily Dawn August 27, 2005

By Shamim Shamsi

SUKKUR, Aug 26: During a recent ecological survey of the Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary and the Nara Game Reserve, a team of the Sindh Wildlife Department and the Halcrow-Pakistan observed some rare sightings in the area.

Bird-watcher Abdul Razzaque Khan and Hussain Bux Bhagat, deputy conservator of the Sindh Wildlife Department visited the area.

Mr Bhagat said during the visit to the Nara Desert locally known as Achharo Thar (white desert), a group of four houbara bustards (chlamydotis undulata) was sighted on Aug 7 in the Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary.

He said houbara bustards were sighted during the first week of August.

He said the bird travels to Sindh from Central Asia and Siberia not before the month of September.

He said the recent observation revealed biodiversity richness of the Nara Desert.

He said August experienced high temperatures in Sindh and on the day of sighting, the temperature was 42 Celsius.

This means weather conditions in colder region (from where this bird migrates to warmer habitats from September to March) have become unfavourable for birds he said.

Mr Bhagat said the early migration indicated global change in environment and suggested lack of measures for protection and conservation of nature.

A pair of a rare duck species like lesser whistling teal (dendrocygna javanica) was sighted at Jari Lake in the Nara Game Reserve on August 6.

Previously, this bird was seen at the Haleji Lake in 1986 and in Sanghar in 1994.

It is the first time that it has been sighted in the upper Sindh where it nests and breeds from June to August.

This is oriental species found in South-East Asia from Pakistan to Indonesia, West Borneo, South China and South India.

While globally threatened duck species Marbled teal (Marmaronetta angusterostris) is still present in lakes of the Nara Game Reserve whereas four pairs at Jagir Lake, two pairs at Dangi-wari Lake and two pairs at Kathore Lake were seen on August 7.

Another pair of Brahminy starling (Sturnus pagodarum) was sighted during its breeding time in the Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary on other forest patch at distance of 14 kms North from the first breeding pair observed during the month of July.

This trend of presence of rare and endangered wildlife species recognizes ecological importance and biodiversity richness of the Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary and Nara Game Reserve, protected under the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1972.

Marbled teal, Lesser whistling teal, Cotton teal and Brahminy starling are passer migrant and summer visitors to Sindhs wetlands.

These birds migrate to Sindh from South India, Iran and Afghanistan from March to August and after breeding, they migrate back to their parent habitats during August and September every year.

The presence of these important wildlife species suggests more concentration of the Sindh Wildlife Department for better protection and management of diversified desert oriented wetland ecosystem of the Nara desert.

The baseline study of the Nara Game Reserve was completed in 2001 and the baseline study of the Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary was completed recently by the Halcrow-Pakistan.

Findings of scientific studies require a comprehensive management plan for these biodiversity rich areas which should be prepared and executed for preservation of habitats.

National and multinational oil firms extracting billions of rupees of oil and gas from these protected areas should also come forward and play their role for preservation and conservation of endangered species.


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