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| Last Updated:: 11/03/2015

Endangered Indian Skimmer finds new home in Satpura National Park

  INDORE: Endangered Indian Skimmer, which is fighting for its survival, seems to have found a new home at Satpura National Park. Around seven birds of the endangered species were recently spotted along with big flock of River Terns near Pattan area of Madhai range.


The colourful bird, with a black cap and orange bill, was once widely found around major rivers and sanctuaries. Now, it's mainly seen in and around parts of National Chambal (Gharial) Wildlife Sanctuary, where they are on the verge of extinction due to illegal fishing and sand mining.


The presence of Indian Skimmer at Satpura National Park has given a new hope for its survival. "The safe and undisturbed habitat of the tiger reserve has attracted the endangered birds to this place for breeding. With the receding water level of Tawa reservoir in summers, new sandbanks emerge, which act as an excellent breeding ground for Indian Skimmer," said ornithologist Ajay Gadikar.


He said that Satpura Tiger Reserve can boost the number of these species as fresh water is present here which is a primary requirement for survival of this species.


At a time when few Indian skimmers are left in Chambal Sanctuary and its numbers are fast depleting, this news comes as a great respite for all the bird lovers. According to data in the book — Threatened Birds of India —number of Indian skimmers has come down to 203 in 2014 from 555 in 1995.


"Every year one or two pairs of these skimmers arrive here during third week of February for breeding purpose, stay here for around four months and leave the place once their young ones are able to fly," said Gadikar adding that there is a need for conservation of these sites for survival of this endangered bird.


Highlighting the threat to endangered bird, Gadikar said that last year, water in Chambal River dried considerably and the large island (sandbank) where the skimmer breeds got connected with other sandbanks causing disturbance. Chances of grazing cattle or feral dogs causing harm to the nest also increases manifold. "A proper monitoring during the breeding season is needed for the long term conservation of this species," said Gadikar.


Besides, the island where this bird breeds needs to be protected from disturbance as locals take away the eggs and hence the breeding pair abandons the place in future.