It was not just any other bird count. It was the second edition of Himalayan Bird Count (HBC) and the celebration of World Migratory Bird Day, organised by Wildlife Conservation and Birds Club of Ladakh (WCBCL) in collaboration with Ladakh Government, UNDP’s Secure Himalaya, Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust, Nature Conservation
Foundation and WWF, at Sindhu Ghat. The theme for this year’s World Migratory Bird Day is Water: Sustaining Bird Life.
Incidentally, Himalayas is home to an estimated 10 percent of the world’s bird species hence widely described as a global avian diversity hotspot. Around eight per cent of the global avian species also breed in this region. But this fragile habitat, which ranges from snow- capped mountains to lush green forests and grasslands, is under severe stress because of climate change and other human- induced threats such as infrastructure development.
The Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh, Brigadier (Retd), Dr B D Mishra who attended the mega event also launched the book, ‘Bird Life of Ladakh and Their Conservation Status’, authored by former Divisional Forest Officer, Mohd Abbas.
The first edition of the Himalayan Bird Count started last year. It is a multinational effort by India, Nepal and Bhutan to better understand the impact of far-reaching changes on birds in the Himalayas and protect threatened habitats in this iconic mountain range that spans over nearly 2,500km.