Migratory Birds in Pakistan at Risk: WWF Urges Govt. To Check

With the alarming decrease in migratory birds in Pakistan, WWF Pakistan's team has been urging the federal government to take notice and take action.

The winter and monsoon season in Pakistan is known to bring in a huge amount of migratory bird species in Pakistan. 10th October marked World Migratory Birds Day, upon which WWF urged the federal government to resume their Annual Winter Fowl Survey that is done every year to determine the number of migratory birds in Pakistan and to analyze their migration patterns.

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) claims that migratory birds are being hunted, poached, and sold in Pakistan even though it is illegal, both nationally and internationally. The organization stressed the decreasing number of migratory birds in Pakistan, and the need to raise awareness amongst the people.

One particular bird called Fauna is to be protected under all means according to WWF, as an attempt to protect the declining migratory bird species in Pakistan. This year’s survey theme is set to “Birds Connect Our World,” through which they are emphasizing how birds bring people and nature together which is why we must make significant efforts to preserve the population.

Moreover, WWF Pakistan’s Technical Advisor Mohammad Moazzam Khan also stated that climate change could be playing a huge part in the patterns of migratory birds in Pakistan. “Wintering birds started arriving in October every year. However, for the past few years, birds have arrived in November. It seems that the migration trends of birds are changing and the duration of these birds staying in Pakistan has decreased substantially,” he said.

WWF’s Mr. Khan further stressed upon the need to protect such birds, as Mr. Khan talked about the cranes in Lasbela and Zhob- due to mistreatment the cranes that flew all over Pakistan are now usually found in only these two locations. Furthermore, he also said that we must change our attitudes and learn from others; as the cranes fly off from Pakistan to India, they are treated with the utmost respect and are looked after as sacred birds.

Cranes are one of the most beautiful migratory birds in Pakistan- however, they have been subject to lots of mistreatment, because of their beauty, size, and unique behavior, they are often hunted and caged in large parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. In Baluchistan, they are hunted in Zhob and Lasbela, in the Sonmiani and Saranda Lake areas. While hundreds are trapped and poached, and some are transported in terrible conditions to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where they are kept as pets. Hundreds die during this trapping and transportation process.

WWF Baluchistan and KPK must take the mistreatment of migratory birds in Pakistan into account and put a stop to it; the organization has begun work with the Lasbela communities in an attempt to curb these illegal acts.

Moreover, experts at WWF say that the sudden rise in locust swarms is probably because of the decline in migratory birds in Pakistan. Since those birds used to feed on locusts, it would keep the amount in moderation however, due to the decrease in their number- the locusts have been free and damaging crop fields in Sindh and Punjab.

Lastly, WWF Pakistan Director of Wildlife, Dr. Tahir Rasheed, said “It is our joint responsibility to protect wild species including birds, which play a crucial role on Earth,” he said, and requested that the Ministry of Climate Change support the Annual Winter Fowl Survey. This is an essential requirement to understand the changes in the migration pattern,” he added.

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