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Bengal Florican (Haubaropsisbengalensis): Demand For Conservation

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Ritika Prasai
Ritika Prasai

Bengal Florican(Haubaropsisbengalensis) is a highly threatened and rare ground nesting bird species inhabiting in Nepal, India, Cambodia and Vietnam with a world population of less than 250 (Ali & Ripley 1987; BirdLife International 2012). It is listed as a critically endangered species in the IUCN Red list category because of its small and rapidly declining population due to widespread loss of grassland habitat in its range (BirdLife International 2012).The legal status of this globally threatened species in Nepal is protected (Appendix-I) under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973 and Appendix-I in CITES law.

This bustard has a very small, declining population, a trend that has recently become extremely rapid and is predicted to continue in the near future largely as a result of the widespread and on going conversion of its grassland habitat for agriculture(Baralet al (2003). It therefore qualifies as a critically endangered. This is the only species remaining in its genus haubaropsis (Birding Asia(10), Bird Conservation Nepal).

A pioneering study on this species in some of the protected areas in Nepal’s southern belt and in northern India was conducted in 1982 resulting in an estimate of 56–82 birds as the total Bengal Florican populationin Nepal (Inskipp&Inskipp 1983).The study concluded that in Nepal all important populations of the species lie within lowland protected areas. A number of studies has been carried out since then, notably in Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve and Bardia National Park in 1990 by Weaver (1991), Bardia in 1998 by Pokharel&Dhakal(1998) and Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, Bardia and Chitwan National Parks in the years 2000–2001by Baralet al (2003)Koshi -Tappu Wildlife Reserve.Repeated surveys have been carried out since then in Nepal in these protected areas.

Shuklaphanta grassland of Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve is one of the suitable habitat for bengalfloricans in the country. A total of 9 bengal-floricans have been reported there (Poudyal LP 2013). But due to the lack of detailed knowledge and information, still the requirement for best habitat for floricans is not figured out. Hence a detailed study collecting the factual information about bengalfloricans regarding its habitat requirement and its total population in the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve is still lacking in the county. There is need of urgency of some effective scientific study for the better conservation of this threatened species.

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