Nepal | July 04, 2020

Pollution, urbanisation threatening large birds in Valley

Himalayan News Service
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The pollution and garbage in urban areas of Kathmandu Valley have been detrimental for large birds such as eagle, hawk, owls, cranes and vultures.

The large birds in the Valley have to strive hard for survival due to lack of food, habitat, water and clean air. The ongoing urbanisation and pollution has had a negative impact on breeding and behaviour of large birds, say experts.

Rajendra N Suwal, Deputy Director of Programme Development and Monitoring at World Wide Fund for Nature, said that large birds like eagle, vulture, crane and hawk that feed in and around polluted river basins and open spaces in the Valley suffer health hazards.

The sewage has contaminated all rivers, including the Bagmati River, making it unfit for birds to drink water. On top of that, carcasses of dogs and stray cattle are disposed on the riverbanks, open spaces and streets. Most of the stray cattle have been treated with declofenac and chemicals by their owners. Declofenac is a harmful chemical that can damage the lungs, heart and kidneys of large birds, especially scavenger birds. “Scavenger birds like vultures and crows suffer because of intake of chemicals, drugs and medicine while consuming the carcasses of livestock. These birds die if they consume carcasses contaminated with declofenac, in particular,” said Suwal, adding that other large birds such as eagle and cranes have been struggling to get fresh and clean fish on account of polluted rivers.

He warned that large birds were on the verge of extinction in the Valley if speedy and effective management of solid waste and curb on urbanisation were not possible.

Maheshwor Dhakal, spokesperson at Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, said the survival of large birds is critical. Pollution and urbanisation have snatched away the survival rights of large birds by limiting flying spaces, food and habitat. Most of them are carnivores and struggle hard to feed on small mammals, reptiles, fish and rodents.

A version of this article appears in print on August 06, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

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