CHITWAN, Oct 7: Bird experts and organizations working for the preservation of birds have recommended reviewing the red list to include more species of birds stating that the present list of protected birds is too old.
Even though regularly sighted bird species in the country are being threatened, the government is yet to revise the 40-year-old red list, which includes only nine species in the list of protected birds.
Ornithologists from across the country who gathered in Chitwan to discuss preparing ´red data book´ of the birds found in Nepal have recommended that 92 species of birds should be included in the list of protected species.
"At the request of Wildlife Conservation Department under the auspices of World Wildlife Federation, we had conducted a study of birds two years ago and recommended that 92 species of regularly sighted birds in Nepal should be included in the protected list," said Professor Karan Bahadur Shah of Prakriti Himalayan. According to Shah, of the 871 species of birds found in Nepal, 92 are critically endangered so there is a need to amend the legislation to include them in the protected list.
"Including the birds in the protected list will enhance interest and efforts toward their conservation. The poachers of these birds will face action," bird expert Dr Hem Sagar Baral opined. Informing that nine species of regularly sighted birds in Nepal have already become extinct, he said that the government should make efforts to prevent extinction of other species. According to ornithologists, 149 birds species are threatened in Nepal.
The list of protected birds includes Black Stork, White Stork, Sarus Crane, Cheer Pheasant, Impeyon Pheasant, Crimson-horned Pheasant, Bengal Florican, Lesser Florican and Giant Hornbill.
As per the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, any person who hunts and kills or injures protected birds shall be punished with a fine ranging from 500 to 10,000 rupees or face imprisonment ranging from three months to two years or both.
"The red list should be updated as the provision of punishment and fine against bird hunters will help to mitigate poaching," Baral said.
Maheshwar Dhakal, an ecologist at the Conservation Department, said the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act has not been amended since 1973. Emphasizing on the need to update the red list, he also informed that the department has started the process to amend the law. "We have begun preparations to amend the law and will take recommendations from the experts into account", said Dhakal.