Bengal Florican Conservation
Ornithologists of Aaranyak have been involved in conservation and research of avifauna since 1990. The researchers carried out status survey of threatened species of birds in Assam and in some parts of North east India including identifying Important Bird Area in the region along with other ornithologists. Species covered under this initiative includes – White Winged Wood Duck, Spot-billed Pelican, Greater Adjutant Stork, Dark-rumped Swift and Water bird monitoring in some key wetlands of Assam during winter. Currently this initiative is carrying out long term research in endangered Bengal Florican in Assam.
Bengal Florican Conservation Project
Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis) is a threatened grassland obligate bird which is found in an extremely patchy distribution in the terai grasslands from Uttar Pradesh to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in India through Nepal, also found in Cambodia. It is a medium sized bird of the lightrxpharmacy family Otididae and one of the three bustards found in the Indian Subcontinent. At present its global population is estimated to be 1500 individuals. In India 350-400 individuals have been estimated.
As a result of habitat destruction and coupled with hunting this grassland obligate species are fast disappearing and unfortunately it is no longer occurs outside protected areas in the Indian Subcontinent. To strengthen the conservation of Bengal Florican its status is upgraded from Endangered to Critically Endangered by IUCN. At present in India, Bengal Florican survives only in a few protected pockets like Manas National Park, Kaziranga National Park, Orang National Park, Sonai-Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary, Dibru-saikhoa National Park and Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, D’Ering Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, Jaldapara and Gorumara Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal and Dudwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh.
To protect this Critically Endangered bustard Aaranyak have initiated Bengal Florican Conservation Project supported by Bodoland
Territorial Council (BTC), Conservation Leadership Program (CLP), Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and Assam Forest Department in the following protected areas Manas Tiger Reserve, Orang National Park, Nameri National Park and Sonai-Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary.
Under this project some of the important activities include:
- Surveying and monitoring the potential grasslands in all the about mentioned PA s to confirm the presence of Bengal Florican.
- Assess the current status of Bengal florican population which includes approximate number and its distribution.
- To explore the major threats to Bengal florican and its habitat in these areas and work for the restoration of its degraded habitat.
- To initiate Bengal florican conservation network and enhance capacity building among local people and local NGOs to protect Bengal florican and their habitats through exchange programme, awareness and motivation.
- Spreading the message of conservation of Bengal Florican in the areas near the Bengal Florican habitats through school children by poster and drawing presentation of Bengal florican.
- To empower local women for alternate livelihood to minimize dependency on grassland habitat