Ghodaghodi wetland area declared country’s first bird sanctuaryThe bird sanctuary will play a crucial role in conserving various globally as well as nationally threatened bird species.
Bird conservationists and local residents are elated with the declaration of Ghodaghodi wetland area in Kailali, a Tarai district of Sudurpaschim Province, as the country’s first bird sanctuary.
The bird sanctuary will play a crucial role in conserving various globally as well as nationally threatened bird species, they say.
“The Ghodaghodi lake wetland area has been declared a bird sanctuary with the objective of conserving birds and promoting tourism in the area,” said Bharat Shrestha, information officer at the provincial Ministry of Industry, Forest, Environment and Tourism.
Chief Minister of Sudurpaschim Province Trilochan Bhatta declared the Ghodaghodi lake wetland area as a bird sanctuary amid a function organised on March 11.
According to Shrestha, the Ghodaghodi area was declared a bird sanctuary under the forest act of the provincial government which states that any part of a national forest can be declared as a protected area for the conservation of endangered wildlife, bird or plant.
The Ghodaghodi lake area was included in the Ramsar Wetland list of global importance in 2003. The wetland area covers 10,570 hectares of land that comprises 24 lakes, including Ghodaghodi, marshes and a national forest.
According to the Ghodaghodi Tourism Board, 360 bird species—both native and migratory—are found in the sanctuary. Various species of aquatic birds migrate to the sanctuary from Siberia in Russia and Mongolia among other countries each winter season.
“The declaration of Ghodaghodi lake as a bird sanctuary will increase conservation activities in the area. It will certainly help in the conservation of birds in the country. The area is touted to become a major bird watching destination in Nepal,” said Hem Sagar Baral, a senior ornithologist. “It will not only help in conserving birds but will also boost tourism in the area.”
According to bird conservationists, 12 globally threatened bird species, including common pochard, great hornbill, great slaty woodpecker, lesser adjutant, finn’s weaver, grey-breasted prinia and Indian spotted eagle, are found in the area. Some bird species like the white-breasted waterhen, cotton pygmy-goose and spot-billed duck hatch only in the Ghodaghodi lake area of Nepal.
Horilal Dagaura, field officer of Bird Conservation Nepal, says the spot-billed duck, which is mainly found in Kerala of India, since 2014 has been breeding its fledglings in the Ghodaghodi lake area.
“In the past, various bird species were threatened due to human activities in the Ghodaghodi lake area. However, the situation has improved lately due to conservation efforts of various organisations, including Ghodaghodi Tourism Board,” said Dagaura, stating that the declaration of the area as a bird sanctuary would be helpful in bird conservation in the area.
Sixty-four species of aquatic birds are found in the Ghodaghodi lake area. Conservationists argue that the migratory birds would stay longer and their number would increase if the authorities can create a safe environment for them.
DR Chaudhary, the chairman of Ghodaghodi Tourism Board, has vowed to conserve the wetlands and forests by prioritising bird conservation.
“The bird sanctuary will be a brand of Sudurpaschim Province. We will promote tourism in the province by conserving birds in the sanctuary,” said Chaudhary.