Losing their Home — Greater Adjutants in Assam

by Bikash Kalita
Bikash Kalita

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The IUCN, International Wetland Research Bureau (IWRB) Specialist Group on Stork, Ibis and Spoonbill (SIS) and the International Council of Bird Preservation (ICBP) have all declared the Greater Adjutant Stork as a first priority species for conservation.

The Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius), an endangered scavenger stork, is globally threatened, with an estimated population of 800-1200 mature individuals, out of which 650-800 are in Assam (Choudhury, 2000). Half of the Assamese population is found in and around Guwahati City (Choudhury, 2008) near the Boragaon Garbage dump, Deepor Beel, Guwahati. Deepor Beel, a permanent freshwater lake in a former channel of the Brahmaputra River, is a Ramsar site, which was originally over 40 sq km. Currently it is only about 4 sq km thanks to serious encroachment, habitat destruction, pollution and over-exploitation of the wetland. Consequently, this has significantly diminished the nesting habitat of the adjutants. Thanks to the disposal of industrial waste and Guwahati city’s sewage, along with toxic waste, the water body has become highly polluted. As a result of this, huge numbers of fish were found dead during latter part of 2015. This fresh-water wetland is becoming a pure garbage dump.

The Greater Adjutant Stork is the most endangered stork in the world today. The IUCN, International Wetland Research Bureau (IWRB) Specialist Group on Stork, Ibis and Spoonbill (SIS) and the International Council of Bird Preservation (ICBP) have all declared the Greater Adjutant Stork as a first priority species for conservation.

About the author

Bikash Kalita

Bikash is a financial consultant by profession. His love for wildlife has drawn him towards wildlife conservation. He runs The Wild Trail Journal, North-East India's first wildlife magazine.



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