Save Kawar Lake Bird Sanctuary

 

The important but not so much known Kawar Lake Bird Sanctuary, situated in Begusarai district, is facing severe challenges from various quarters, which has started threatening very delicate balance of its ecosystem.  The wetland of National importance has been facing troubles due to continuous bird poaching, gradual shrinkage, nearby agricultural practices  and mismanagement on part of authorities. Its really tragic on part of the State where it is only one of its kind, to face such kind of apathy.

The wetland sanctuary has been famous for its multiple varieties of bird population, including the migratory birds,  which now is being threatened due to poaching of birds on a large scale. The hunting and killing of birds go unabated and the same is put on for sale in the nearby markets with impunity. The lack of awareness among the villagers and the poverty further exacerbate the issue. Due to continuous poaching, the number of migratory birds visiting the lake has been drastically reduced in the recent years. It is estimated that annually twenty five thousand birds belonging to different species  are killed, which is shocking. Not only the poaching, but also the fishing on large scale is forcing the birds to go elsewhere in search of foods. The agricultural activities around the lake pollutes the lake with its pesticides which finds their way in the lake. The growth of weeds and grasses in the lake has further enhanced its problem and eutrophication is causing its rapid decline. The encroachment on the wetland is also contributing to its decline.

Wetlands are considered as one of the most important productive ecosystem of the environment, which not only sustains the variety of flora and fauna but also the local communities. A study report by Salim Ali Center for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) suggests that 38% of India's wetland has been lost within a short span of only 10 years from 1991 to 2001. This fact may be well attributed to the Kawar lake bird sanctuary, though not on such a large scale. It is not that local communities are not aware its benefit accruing to them, but it is the vested interest of few, which unchecked from the authorities, is manifesting to others as well. The ill-trained staffs and lack of use of advanced equipment is also one of the major reason for its downfall. Though the awareness has grown among the villages due to the effort of certain groups, yet the result is far from satisfactory. The lack of alternative jobs also forces the locals to involve in such practices.

The existence of wide range of problems coupled with the lack of initiatives from the administration is really threatening the existence of the lake. As it has been seen world wide, wetlands dies a silent death due to negligence , and by the time the authorities wakes up, its too late to recover. Will the less known Kawar lake face the same even before getting noticed by the people of its own State ? It will be saved or not and taken care of or not - the answer lies in future, but the past trends and present actions have not been encouraging. Its time for the administration to take care of this valuable natural resource seriously.

[January 2013]