Global honour for Mumbai ornithologist

Mumbai, July 3 (IANS) Renowned ornithologist and director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Asad Rahmani has been conferred with the prestigious Member of Honour Award of the British-based BirdLife International, an official said here Wednesday.

The award was presented by Princess Takamado of Japan during the recently held BirdLife International World Congress in Ottawa, Canada, attended by representatives from over 120 countries.

It is in recognition of Rahmani’s contribution to research and conservation of birds in India in general and for his work in saving the Great Indian Bustard in particular.

“Conservation of species is always a team work and I devote this award to the BNHS team and the entire Indian Bird Conservation Network. A lot more needs to be done for the conservation of many threatened species of birds and other animals,” Rahmani said while accepting the honour.

As a member of the National Board for Wildlife, India, Rahmani has advocated the protection of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and Biodiversity Areas.

Till date, the BNHS and BirdLife International have recogniSed 466 IBAs in India, including Narcondam Island, Flamingo City in Gujarat and Mahul-Sewri Mudflats in coastal Mumbai.

Presently, as many as 160 bird species are under the threatened and near threatened categories of the IUCN, including 16 which are “critically endangered” and 15 “endangered”, implying that they require immediate conservation initiatives.

Rahmani has been advocating the “Project Bustards” and recommended a conservation breeding programme for the future survival of the threatened Great Indian Bustards.

The project envisages including all the four species of Bustards found in India, including Bengal Florican and Lesser Florican.

Besides, Rahmani and his team are working on other threatened species like Black-necked Stork, Greater Adjutant and Swamp Francolin.

Author of a dozen books on birds, Rahmani was recently conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award of Kirloskar Vasundhara in Pune.

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