ALAPPUZHA: The migratory birds have started arriving in the state but the government is yet to start a regular monitoring system which was planned two years ago in the wake of the bird flu outbreak. At least 2 lakh migratory birds visit Kerala every season and in Alappuzha alone, some 50,000 of them come. Most of them fly in from northern Europe.
The Animal Husbandry Department (AHD) officials, who promised a monitoring system, now say it did not work out due to technical problems. They are now planning to introduce it with the support of local bodies and voluntary organisations. Dr B. Sreekumar, president, Kottayam Nature Society, which has been conducting annual studies on migratory birds for over a decade, says a regular monitoring system should be set up for information on poaching and death of birds.
The birds that visit Alappuzha are from Russia, Siberia and China. Dr Jalaludheen, project officer, College of Avian Science and Management, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU), said a permanent mapping system can check the migratory birds which show any symptoms of diseases. “It could also suggest moving the poultry away from key wetlands to minimise cross-transmission with migratory birds,” he said.
A study carried out by the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in 2005 with the support of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had found that the migratory birds fly thousands of miles carrying pathogens of diseases. Among the species that visit Kerala are long-toed stint, common ringed plover, spot billed pelican and painted stork., said Harikumar Mannar, a bird watcher.