The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), a wildlife research organization, has declared 96 sq km coastal wetland area of Gosabara-Mokarsagar in Porbandar, as Important Bird Area (IBA) site. BNHS and Mokarsagar Wetland Conservation Committee (MWCC) jointly organized Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN) workshop at Porbandar on March 2-3.
“During the two-day workshop, more than 100 people participated in birdwatching and interactions.During the workshop, Dr Raju Kasambe of BNHS, officially announced that Gosabara-Mokarsagar wetland area as Important Bird Area (IBA),“ said Dhaval Varagiya, president of MWCC. He is doing his doctoral research on pesticide toxicity in wetlands of Porbandar.
“There are around 544 IBAs in India and 18 in Gujarat. IBA is an area identified using an internationally agreed set of criteria as being globally important for the conservation of bird population. The program was developed and sites are identified by Birdlife International with BNHS as local agency for India. Bird experts and ornithologists have been demanding GosabaraMokarsagar wetland to be declared birds sanctuary since long,“ Varagiya added.
“According to an estimate, bird watchers have reported over 250 bird species in Gosabara-Mokarsagar wetlands. The IBA programme of Birdlife International aims to identify, monitor and protect a global network of IBAs for conservation of the birds and associated biodiversity. IBA status will help government protect the site and put conservation efforts to maintain it,“ Varagiya added.
Experts say that thought IBA does not have any legal status but it helps environmentalists to raise alarm if the site faces any threats and press for its conservation.
“This is a potential Ramsar Site and it must be con served at the highest level.In 2001, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) conducted a country-wide survey for important `Inland Wetlands of India' and GosabaraMokarsagar wetland was one the 50 important wetlands of the country,“ said B M Parasharya, agricultural ornithologist at Anand Agricultural University.
Important bird area (IBA) status for Gosabara should have come much early when environmentalists are battling to save the wetland from poaching menace.Nevertheless, it's a step in a positive direction that should push the state government to expedite the process to declare the wetland as a sanctuary. This will ensure the highest protection cover for the place, which even the ornithologists feel is a potential Ramsar site.