Wildlife biologist, Shashank Dalvi, became the first Indian to map the country's almost entire coastline, rainforests, sanctuaries and deserts to record bird species.
Baishali Adak | Posted by Anand Jayaram
New Delhi, May 30, 2016 | UPDATED 10:45 IST
A remarkable feat has been achieved in the history of Indian ornithology with a Mumbaikar having travelled almost the entire country, 80,000 km, to record 1,128 bird species. This includes rarest ones like the Himalayan Forest Thrush, Tibetan Lark, Nicobar Jungle Flycatcher and Chinese Francolin.
Thirty-two-year-old wildlife biologist, Shashank Dalvi, was on a project called the 'Big Year.' Under this challenge, promoted by United State's Cornell University, birders take up a geographical location, often an entire country, to record its bird diversity in one year. Dalvi has become the first Indian to map the country's almost entire coastline, rainforests, sanctuaries and deserts to record bird species.
The much-awarded photographer says such exercises are important in view of the shrinking wild habitats and climate change. "With temperatures rising, a few years down the line, these avian species may be lost forever. Also, the data collated through such efforts can inform us of their changing migration and distribution patterns through seasons," he says.
India is among the 12 'mega-bird diversity countries of the world' with an estimated 1,314 species. Over 13 per cent of the world's birds are found in India, as per Asad R Rahmani, former Director, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). Of the 1,314 species, 150 are considered 'vagrant' or seen only once or twice in the history of bird-sighting in India.
Dalvi undertook this feat from 1 January-31 December 2015. The alumnus of WCSNCBS programme says he spent four months in India's Northeast alone. "This belt is the richest. It houses close to two-thirds of India's bird diversity."