Your online news portal has published a news story (“While India’s wildlife is declining, its environment ministry remains in denial”) on India’s wildlife, which was originally published by TheThirdPole.net. At the outset it is stated that the above report is baseless and far from actual facts of the situation. The title of the article is in itself a sweeping and erroneous statement.
The article mentions that minister of state for Environment, Forest and Climate Changetold the Lok Sabha in September in response to a question that the government had no data to say that endangered bird population in the country were in a state of continuous decline. It has also been reported by the said report that the minister had failed to note findings from the “State of India’s Birds” report, even though three autonomous governments institutions – the Wildlife Institute of India, the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History and the national Biodiversity Authority – had collaborated on it.
It is stated that the government has not misled Parliament on wildlife decline. Efforts by the government have shown an increase in population of several species like tiger, Asiatic lion, one-horned rhinoceros, elephants, Gyps vultures, etc. The number of Protected Areas in the country, which stood at 693 in the year 2012 have risen to 903 PAs presently, which is spread in an area of 165,012.59 sq km presently risen from 157,467.50 sq km in 2012.
In addition, the government has also notified “eco-sensitive zones” around several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks to provide safety and protection to the wildlife. To arrive at a sweeping statement that wildlife is declining is a misrepresentation of facts and blatantly incorrect statement that is misleading the public.
As regards to the Parliament Question, the Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha Question had asked whether population of endangered birds are in a state of continuous decline. The reply to the said Lok Sabha Question was based on the available information in the ministry. As the records of periodic assessments of bird population in the country are not available in the Ministry, continuous decline of endangered birds cannot be indicated.
Further, the Wildlife Institute of India had also informed the ministry that bird population from within Protected Areas and forests continue to be safe and stable. Therefore, to say that the population of birds have declined in the country would be an absolutely false statement. Also, “State of India’s Birds 2020” is a report of a consortium of research and conservation organisations and has been based on volunteer data on bird counts provided by bird watchers and others in ebird online platform as citizen science initiative, and as such the authenticity of such reporting has not been verified.
On the contrary, the population of birds like the three species of Gyps vultures, which was on the verge of extinction in the 1990s, has been found to be increased. Efforts of the government in recovery of Great Indian Bustards have also shown positive results. The ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had also approved a “Visionary Perspective Plan for Conservation of Avian Diversity” of the country for a ten-year period of 2020-2030. The implementation of this plan will throw more insights on status of bird populations in the country. – Gaurav Khare, official spokesperson(Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change)
Press Information Bureau
Government of India
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