Tuesday, 6th of December 2016

Bengal Florican Project

 

The critically endangered Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis is a bird inhabiting the tall alluvial grasslands of Terai region along the foothills of Himalaya. It is included in Schedule-1 on the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. At present threats to the bird, beyond the protected areas, include loss and degradation of habitat due to unsustainable human activities. 

This pilot project aims to re-asses the conservation status, to study the movement pattern in non-breeding season and dispersal of the species, based on satellite telemetry. The project involves putting Platform Terminal Transmitters (PTTs) on some birds from the species across its present distribution range. It also involves undertaking surveys among researchers, naturalists, forest department officials and other interested people to understand the species better. PTTs will enable tracking the movement of the birds and ascertain their locations in all seasons for a comprehensive conservation strategy. Use of PPT also provides opportunity to understand the spatio-temporal distribution pattern, habitat use and flight locations during migration. The studies are conducted particularly in the summer months when the birds appear in the grasslands of northern India and Nepal, before the monsoon sets in.

Till now, studies have been carried out in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh. BNHS scientists have been studying the bird in this wide geographical region, in association with various regional NGOs such as Aaranyak and various state forest departments. The project will help to ascertain where the birds move to, when they are not visible in the Terai grasslands. The methodology followed for the project includes the following steps.

·         Ascertaining conservation status

·         PTT installation

·         Studying movement patterns and dispersal

·         Monitoring extent and quality of habitat at key breeding sites

·         Recommendations for conservation