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14 bird species on verge of extinction in India

NEW DELHI: At least 14 species of birds from India are on the verge of extinction due to poaching, over use of pesticides and loss of habitat, government said.

However, the “National Bird” peacock is not currently under the threat of extinction, minister of environment and forests Jayanthi Natarajan said.

“According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, 14 species of birds from India are critically endangered, which do not include peacocks,” she said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

“The major threats being faced by these bird species include habitual destruction, poaching, indiscriminate use of pesticides and chemicals harmful to birds etc,” she explained.

According to the IUCN list, the critically endangered birds include White-rumped Vulture, Indian Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, Pink-headed Duck, White-belled Heron, Sociable Lapwing, Christmas Frigatebird, Jerdon’s Courser, Siberian Crane, Bengal Florican, Himalayan Quail, Forest Owlet, Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

Describing the measures taken to protect these endangered birds, the minister said the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, provides for stringent punishments for those violating the provisions of the act.

Besides, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has been set up to control the illegal trade in wildlife, including endangered birds and their parts or products, she added.

Replying to another query on the impact of communication towers on wildlife including birds and bees, Natarajan said the report of the “Expert Committee” to study the matter is under examination of the ministry.

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