“Summary Report on Asian Waterbird Census 2022: Results of Mid-winter Count by Biodiversity Management Committees and Asian Waterbird Census Network” was launched by Shri. Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Shri. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Government of India, at an event organized by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in collaboration with National Biodiversity Authority commemorating International Biodiversity Day, on 22nd May at Chennai.
The much-anticipated report, jointly prepared by National Biodiversity Authority, Wetlands International South Asia (WISA) and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), the organizations entrusted with coordinating the annual Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) in India, collated results of the census performed at least once in a total of 142 wetlands from nineteen states and union territories of India in the months of January-February, 2022. The results show that a total of 179 (One hundred and seventy-nine) waterbirds and wetland-dependent waterbirds species were recorded during the census period, tallying around 1,22,588, of which many are classified as migratory waterbirds as per the BirdLife International database (Birdlife International, 2022). Several IUCN listed species of conservation significance like Baer’s Pochard, Common Pochard and Lesser Adjutant were also reported, amplifying its role in the field of waterbird conservation.
In this census, over 650 volunteers from 119 organizations, including representatives of grassroot Biodiversity Management Committees and local community members participated in enumeration of waterbirds which aptly exemplifies this year’s Global Biodiversity Day theme of “Building A Shared Future for All Life”.
The census is the Asian chapter of international waterbird census that is considered as one of the largest and longest-running internationally coordinated citizen-science biodiversity monitoring programmes in the world. Initiated in 1987 and running in its 35th year, this community driven project strives to support conservation and management of waterbirds and their habitat, including wetlands.
For institutionalization of waterbird monitoring in wetlands across the country, AWC network partnered with National biodiversity authority, State Biodiversity Boards, Union Territory Biodiversity Councils and Biodiversity Management committees. This process would not just help in leveraging local knowledge systems for conservation purposes but would also go a long way in bringing about behavioral change and awareness generation, necessary for harmonious coexistence. The information generated through AWC is intended to be used for planning and execution of conservation of waterbirds and their habitats.
Wetlands International South Asia, as coordinator of AWC, acknowledges and deeply appreciates the support provided by National and State level institutions, Civil society organizations, Experts, volunteers and all the individuals who participated in conducting winter counts of Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), 2022. This report has been a product of their dedication and commitment towards conservation of waterbirds and wetlands.
The report can be accessed here: AWC Summary Report 2022