Feathered visitors to Delhi zoo on the decline

Migratory birds at the Delhi National Zoological Park has dropped drastically.

New Delhi: Winter is the time when hundreds of migratory birds flock the Pelican pond at the Delhi National Zoological Park but this year the number of avian visitors has dropped drastically.

"Hundreds of migratory birds from Siberia, southeast Asia and other parts of India congregate at the park during winters, but the number has plummeted this year," Delhi zoo curator Riyaz Khan told PTI.

He listed a number of factors for the decline, including climatic changes which have disrupted their migratory pattern, the delayed onset of winter in the capital this year and the ban on hunting in countries en route to the city.

"The decline is not a recent trend. In the early 1990s, over 5,000 birds used to come. However, over the last few years, only as many as 1,000 of about six to seven species
came. While there are umpteen reasons for this, the main factor is global warming, which has disrupted their migratory pattern," said Khan.

However, close to 100 avians from Siberia and southeast Asia, called the `true migratory` birds as they do not nest away from their home location, have already arrived at the park.

The other winter visitors, which have flown from the hilly terrains of Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, have already started nesting and breeding, he said.

Among the 100 `true migratory` birds that have arrived so far are the Dabchick, Shoveller Duck, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Red lapwing and Coot, in addition to 40 other varieties.

The White Ibis, Painted Stork, Night Heron, Tailor Bird, Green Pigeon, Blue-throated Crystal and Spot Billed Duck are among the local winter visitors that have flapped their way from the country`s hilly regions, informed Khan.

Meanwhile, zoo officials have added an additional 60 kg of fish to the daily ration to cater to the winged visitors.

"However, this is insufficient as each bird consumes around 300 gm of fish. With more birds coming in, the ration will have to be increased further," said Khan.


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