The Finnish weaver (Ploceus megarhynchus) which was so far listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has been reclassified as “endangered”.
For the past four years, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), a wildlife research organization in India, had worked hard to get an update to the IUCN list of the bird.
Finn’s Weaver by Dr Rajat Bhargava
“This is indeed a good development and it was the need of the hour at a time when the bird population is dropping sharply. We hope to work with governments to draft a conservation plan and act on it.” , said Dr Bivash Pandav, director of BNHS.
Rajat Bhargava, an ornithologist and scientist at BNHS had spearheaded the ‘movement’ to save the species and also runs a Finnish weavers conservation and breeding program funded by the UP Forestry Division and implemented by the BNHS.
Little Florican by Dr Sujit Narwade
“If you ask me, Finn’s weaver is critically endangered with only 1,000 birds remaining in the world, half of which are in India. Nonetheless, the revised status of this bird on the IUCN list is something big and is now expected to help the rebirth of the species.The UP government-funded conservation project at the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary was due to start last year in April, but was delayed due to the Covid 19 outbreak. Also this year we were in the middle of the second wave when the birds were supposed to be captive-bred in aviaries specially designed for the breeding which takes place in April. Now we hope and pray to start it next April. ”
Habitat destruction is the main reason for the marked decline of Finn’s Weaver. “Until 60 years ago this bird thrived on the availability of vast grasslands, its natural habitat, but over the years the landscapes have undergone changes and paved the way for agriculture and construction. . Hopefully something positive will come out of this IUCN update, ”said Dr Asad R. Rahmani, Board member of Wetlands International South Asia and former director of BNHS.
Notably, Finn’s Weaver aren’t the only birds that have undergone an overhaul in the IUCN list. Out of 27 reshuffles around the world, five birds are found in India.
Other birds of India are the Imperial Nicobar Pigeon, the Green Imperial Pigeon, and the Mountain Eagle (from less concerned to near threatened in the list).
But the fifth bird that is of great concern is the Little Florican which has seen a move from “Endangered” to “Critically Endangered” in the updated list. This bird, also a victim of shrinking grasslands, is only found in India, especially in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
“We are about to lose this beautiful flaming bird found in the landscape of Shokaliya in Rajasthan and Velavadar in Gujarat. It survives in the dry grasslands of the plains, but the rapid conversion of grasslands to agriculture is the cause of its rapid decline, ”said Sujit Narwade. , project scientist at BNHS, involved in the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard and the Little Florican.