India’s Harike Wetlands Sees 12% Drop in Migratory Birds

Less than 100,000 winged visitors have arrived so far in Harike wetlands in the northern Indian state of Punjab. That’s a 12% drop from last year, according to the Times of India newspaper that cited forest department officials.

Officials counted 93,385 migratory birds in the wetlands this year, compared with 105,890 in the same period a year ago, the newspaper reported.

Loss of habitat due to intrusive farming activities was the chief reason for the drop in the visitor numbers, according to Harike divisional forest officer (wildlife) Baljit Singh. “Rapid industrialization means more emission of carbon dioxide. This squeezes up nitrogen level and threatens vital vegetation consumed by migratory birds. The lack of food sources affects birds’ migration to a great extent,” Singh told the Times of India.