Efforts on to protect Chattisgarh's state bird, the common hill mynah, from extinction – Mongabay-India

  • The Kanger Valley Nationwide Park in Chhattisgarh is known for the Bastar hill mynah a subspecies of the widespread hill mynah which is protected underneath Schedule 1 (b) of the Wildlife Safety Act, 1972.
  • The hen is endemic to the Kanger Valley Nationwide Park the place the felling of a number of dry timber for cultivation, particularly sal, and infrastructure growth actions has put the species in peril.
  • The forest division together with conservationists is planning to additional examine the hen and make efforts in direction of conservation actions for the safety of the hen inhabitants.

The Kanger Valley Nationwide Park in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh is a mysterious place dotted with caves, waterfalls and dense forests. The protected space notified in 1982 can also be well-known for the jap hill mynah (Gracula religiosa peninsularis), a species positioned underneath Schedule 1 (b) of the Wildlife Safety Act, 1972. The Chhattisgarh authorities declared it because the state hen in 2002.

The jet black colored hen, often known as the widespread hill mynah or the Bastar hill mynah right here, mimics the human voice exceptionally effectively. For that reason, it’s typically present in cages and bought as pets available in the market. The distribution vary of the widespread hill mynah consists of India, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the South East Asian islands. There are seven sub-species which are very comparable however separated by their distribution vary, in accordance with a September 2017 examine authored by Arun M.Okay. Bharos and Ameet Mandavia. In India, 4 sub-species of the widespread hill mynah are discovered.

The Bastar hill mynah is endemic to the Kanger Valley Nationwide Park the place the felling of a number of dry timber for cultivation and developmental actions has put the species in peril. The widespread hill mynah nests in colonies, together with parrots and woodpeckers. Holes made by woodpeckers in dry sal (Shorea robusta) timber are most well-liked by the widespread hill mynah. In Bastar particularly, there are 11 resident woodpecker species that make holes usually in a number of timber. The widespread hill mynah surveys every gap after which chooses a nest after a number of visits. “There are 14 websites throughout Kanger Valley the place the birds come for consuming fruits throughout the fruiting season and are noticed. My three-year remark says that the birds want dry timber, about 20-25 metres in top, close to water sources. It wants this a lot top for safety causes,” Ravi Naidu of CROW (Conservation and Analysis of Wilderness) Basis, a non-profit primarily based in Jagdalpur, Bastar, informed Mongabay-India. Naidu and Ameet Mandavia of CROW have studied the species intimately for some years. Aside from deforestation and nearly zero patrolling in Kanger Valley on account of Maoist presence, Mandavia knowledgeable that the hen can also be hunted by tribal folks. “Bushes which assist the widespread hill mynah must be grown to assist its lowering inhabitants. Banyan timber are appropriate for them as they bear fruits twice a yr. If a tree doesn’t have fruits, the mynah won’t sit in it,” he stated.

Is the rely lowering?

The inhabitants of the widespread hill mynah in Chhattisgarh stands at 350-400 birds if scattered populations from different close by districts of Bastar are considered, in accordance with Publication for Birdwatchers September-October 2017. Although there is no such thing as a recorded knowledge, there have been stories of flocks disappearing. In an unofficial rely by CROW Basis, 100 breeding pairs had been reported. “A complete of 100 breeding pairs had been counted. Counting was on for 5 years until 2016 and the report was printed in 2017. Clearly, the inhabitants has diminished. About 20 years in the past, a flock dimension of 200-300 birds was once seen. Now recognizing even 5 to 6 birds in a flock is a most lucky factor,” Mandavia added.

Kanger Valley Nationwide Park. Photograph by Theasg sap/Wikimedia Commons.

However it’s incorrect to infer that the inhabitants is lowering or growing as there’s vital native motion of the species, defined Bharos, co-author of the 2017 Inhabitants Evaluation And Standing Of Frequent Hill Myna examine and a Raipur-based wildlife professional. He added that the birds congregate wherever meals is out there. Evaluation of their inhabitants is just not simple as they journey lengthy distances, typically even to the neighbouring state of Odisha seeking meals. “As soon as, within the Kanger Valley Nationwide Park, I counted 40 birds they usually had been converging and leaving on the similar time which made counting troublesome. I believe it is kind of static in Kanger Valley which is an efficient indication,” he stated.

Trying captive breeding

A captive breeding experiment was initiated by the forest division within the early 2000s on the forest coaching faculty in Jagdalpur, nevertheless it didn’t have any success. Speaking concerning the undertaking, Vijaya Ratre, the director of Kanger Valley Nationwide Park, stated, “There’s a cage the place we now have now stored two birds (after the demise of birds throughout the captive breeding undertaking). It’s powerful to determine the male and the feminine because the sexes shouldn’t have any distinguished options for simple identification.” Each sexes are visually comparable and will be recognized solely after plucking their feathers or once they mount one another throughout mating. “Captive breeding was considered so as to add on to the inhabitants however we couldn’t get success. It’s a uncommon hen and its distribution is proscribed. It’s present in components of Andhra and Odisha as effectively. In Chhattisgarh, it’s discovered within the Bastar area,” Ratre stated.

Rahul Kaul, senior director on the Wildlife Belief of India, stated captive breeding is normally carried out instead possibility to forestall decline within the wild inhabitants. Nonetheless, the most effective place for restoration of a species is within the wild itself with slightly higher safety by the forest division, he stated. “Captive breeding, and now conservation breeding, is a crucial device, however solely when we now have understood {that a} specific species has declined to sure ranges from the place its inhabitants must be constructed with some help. It is usually vital to grasp the explanations behind the decline in numbers in order that that it may be corrected as effectively. So, first allow us to perceive the standing and distribution of the Bastar hill mynah earlier than efforts are made to breed it in captivity,” he stated.

New undertaking to guard the species

Ratre, director of Kanger Valley Nationwide Park, knowledgeable that there’s an sufficient price range of roughly Rs. 40 lakh accessible with the forest division for the conservation of the widespread hill mynah. A brand new undertaking underneath this funding can be initiated underneath which, hen habitats in Kanger Valley can be surveyed and developed. The undertaking was handed final yr round October-November.

In accordance with Ratre, CROW Basis which has labored on the widespread hill mynah has been roped in for the undertaking. “There can be discipline visits in February. For the revival of the hen inhabitants, CROW Basis has recognized a number of areas and digital camera traps can be arrange inside Kanger Valley. After the sphere visits, it is going to be determined if captive breeding is possible as it’s a very shy hen. They might not breed if disturbed, as they’ve a selected selection of nests. So, we should see if we are able to go in for captive breeding or simply safety and monitoring of nests,” the forest officer informed Mongabay-India.

Evaluation of the widespread hill mynah inhabitants is just not simple due to its motion. It travels lengthy distances seeking meals. Photograph by Ravi Naidu.

Ratre added that in-situ captive breeding is a good suggestion however efforts can be made in order to not convey the birds outdoors their pure habitats. “We are able to strive in-situ breeding websites inside Kanger Valley the place they are often of their pure environment. For herbivores, it’s simple to breed them in captivity and launch them, however for some birds it’s a troublesome factor.”

Mandavia agrees that the birds won’t breed in captivity and underneath stress. “We wish to assess the inhabitants. CROW Basis has submitted a proposal the place we now have additionally talked about nest safety for the birds in addition to planting of timber. The nesting season will begin in April and Might. After they do nest for breeding, it’s the good time to present their nests safety. If the inhabitants needs to be elevated, the variety of fruit-bearing timber should be elevated too.”

Naidu knowledgeable that the parakeet is a tricky competitor of the widespread hill mynah. When each the female and male birds exit for meals, of their absence parakeets occupy their nests made in holes. Naidu has made a design for 30 nesting holes for the birds in Kanger. These should be monitored constantly. “If the birds select even the nests, then our conservation plan can be profitable. They aren’t getting an sufficient variety of woodpecker holes made in dry timber. Many sal timber are being minimize down.”

Naidu noticed a flock of twenty-two birds between November-December 2020 and January 2021. His voice holds urgency when he says that if nothing is being completed, the birds will vanish.

Banner picture: The distribution vary of the widespread hill mynah consists of India, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the South East Asian islands. Photograph by Ravi Naidu.

Article printed by Aditi

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