WATER BIRDS DIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION AT HUB DAM LASBELLA, KARACHI, PAKISTAN

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WATER BIRDS DIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION AT HUB DAM LASBELLA, KARACHI, PAKISTAN
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     African Journal of Science and Research ,2013, 2(3): 22-26 ISSN: 2306-5877  Available Online: http://ajsr.rstpublishers.com/   WATER BIRDS DIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION AT HUB DAM LASBELLA, KARACHI, PAKISTAN. Abeda Begum* 1 , Arif Zubair  1 , Saquib Ejaz Hussain 22  and Abdur Razaq Khan 3   1.Department of Environmental Science, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, Karachi, Pakistan. 2.Environmental Specialist in Environmental Management Consultants (EMC), Karachi, Pakistan. 3. Wildlife specialist in Helcrow Pakistan, A multinational company, Pakistan. Email: abi2sk@yahoo.com Received:29, May,2013 Revised: 31, May2013; Accepted: 5 June,2013. Abstract The study was conducted to document richness and relative abundance of avifauna, particularly the water birds of Hub Dam, district lasbella / karachi. A total of 134 bird species belonging to 17 orders and 46 families were recorded during 2011-2012 which include some rare and threatened species. The status of each bird species has also been recorded. Out of these, 10 species were new findings and 27 species reported earlier were not recorded during the present study. Among these, 52.70 % species were residents, 38.51 % winter visitors, 2.70 % summer breeding visitors, 1.35 % summer visitors and 4.73 % passage migrants. Water birds constituted 41.26 % of the avifauna of lake. Unregulated tourism, local people disturbance and social impacts are major threats to the dam. The dam may lose its resilience in the face of a changing environment due to loss in the species richness. Keywords:  Bird diversity, Water birds, Drought and Threats to water birds.   INTRODUCTION Wetlands are a significant factor in the health and existence of other natural resources of the state, such as inland lakes, ground water, fisheries and wildlife (Akbar et al., 2009). Most of the wetlands are supports to resident and migratory birds, fish fauna and aquatic vegetation (Khan & Ghalib, 2006). Pakistan has three categories of protected areas: National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and Game Reserves (Khan etal  ., 2010). The KPAC comprises of Khirthar National Park (KNP), the Mahal Kohistan Wildlife Sanctuary(MKS),Hub Dam Wildlife Sanctuary (HDS), the Surjan, Sumbak, Eri, and Hothiano Game Reserves (SGR) (Khan et al  ., 2013). The reservoir considered a candidate for Ramsar site due to its potential as regards natural resourse and importance as the birds resting stage site (Ghalib et al  ., 2000). Pakistan, due to its diverse weather and varied land is home to some of the rare and exclusive birds in the world and its wetlands and lakes attract millions of migratory birds from across the globe, specially form Siberia each year. Ghalib at al. (2004) recorded 380 species of birds from Balochistan, out of which 128 species are waterbirds. Avifauna comprises of 36 Resident and 84 Migratory species from Balochistan (Khan and Saima 2011), included Passage migrants, winter visitors and summer breeders. Kahn and Saima, 2011 explored Hub Dam as ecotourism along with different sites and suggested some interesting activities like, Nature Safari, Bird Safari. Over the past several years, many wetlands have been degraded and have lost their significance due to unsustainable exploitation, increase level of urban and domestic effluents being discharge into the aquatic ecosystem (Amjad and Kidwai, 2003). Hub dam (25° 15„N 67° 07´E) was constructed on Hub River in 1981, at a distance of 56 km North of Karachi in Sindh - Balochistan provinces border (Fig. 1) (Ghalib et al  ., 2000). Main Dam is 15,640 meters (m) long of which 10,240 m lies in Sindh while rest in Balochistan (Khan et al. , 2012a). Hub Dam was declared as a Wildlife Sanctury in 1972 to conserve waterbirds and the indigenous fish Mahsheer ( Tor putitora ) (Khan et al. , 2012a). Before the creation of the dam, this area was famous among anglers as the habitat of Mahaseer, a game fish (Ghalib et al  ., 2000). The dam is situated in an area of semi arid and desert with sedimentary rocks. There are a few small islands in the midst of the reservoir. The Hub River srcinates in Kirthar Range of eastern Balochistan and enters the Arabian Sea just west of Karachi. The Hub River separates the provinces Balochistan and Sindh, each of which receives water by a canal from Hub Dam reservoir (Qaimkhani et al.,  2005). The water level in the reservoir fluctuates widely according to rainfall in the water catchment area which extends over 3410 sq. miles. The topography of the upper catchment is sub  –  mountainous to hilly and plain. The area is generally barren with sparse vegetation at certain locations. The catchment of the Hub reservoir is wholly rain fed. The dam is relatively shallow with maximum depth of 9.6 m. The water has relatively high concentration of dissolved salts of sulphates, sodium and chloride and dissolved oxygen which results into high greater primary and secondary production (Ghalib et al  ., 2000). The climate of the area is predominantly arid and with an average annual rainfall of less than 200 millimeters (mm). The temperature often exceeds 36 Celsius (°C) during summer (Ghalib et al  ., 2000). A Forest Plantation and Recreational Park of about 80 ha has been established by Balochisatan Forest Department (Ghalib et al  ., 2000). During the observation on the avifauna of Hub Dam a total number of 128 species of birds belonging to 14 orders and 46 families were previously recorded (Ghalib et al  ., 2000).  A comprehensive detail about the fauna and the environmental effects on the Hub Dam Wildlife Sanctuary, and recorded 16   African Journal of Science and Research ,2013, 2(3): 22-26    23 mammals, 160 birds, 23 reptiles, 03 amphibians, 29 fishes, and 25 plants species (Khan et al  . 2012a). In the recent study in the Khirthar Protected area Complex (KPAC), a total of 33 species of mammals have so far been recorded (Khan et al., 2013). The objective of the present study was to document the avifauna of Hub Dam with special reference to the richness, occurrence and status of water birds and to propose recommendations the conservation and management of the conservation and management of waterbirds and their habitat. STUDY AREAS     Area near Spill way (N 25° 17´ 23.2, E 67° 05´ 55.6), having rocky slopes with spare vegetation and reservoir area.    Main Dam area (N 25° 14´ 35.5, E 67° 06´ 45.8), wetland area.    Hub Canal (N 25´ 14´ 26.6, E 67° 06´ 48.6), rocky, agricultural and plain area.    Shallow water area towards Khar Center (N 25° 14´ 55.3, E 67° 08´ 56.3), agricultural, marshes and rocky.    Usman Qalandria (N 25° 17´ 38.5, E 67° 05´ 94.2), rocky and plain area.    Robo Khaskheli Goth (N 25° 17´ 48.4, E 67° 10´ 12.2), rocky, flat and plain area.    Robo Goth (N 25° 14´ 48.1, E 67° 09´ 32.5), rocky and plain area.    Rest House Side (N 25° 15´ 40.1, E 67° 05´ 54.8), rocky and wetland area.    Plantation Area (N 25° 16´ 32.3, E 67° 06´ 39.1), forest, rocky and wetland area.    Bund Murad (N 26° 05´ 77.4, E 69° 09´ 39.0), rocky and wetland area Fig.(1). Location of the Hub Dam MATERIALS AND METHODS The study areas were regularly visited during summer and winter from 2011 to 2012. The study areas were visited at least once every month from October 2011 to September 2012 to record the data which were observed and identified by using spotting scope. Observations were made during morning and evening for three hours each by a single observer binocular (10x50) and spotting scope (15x15-60) identified using guides such as Mirza (2007)   and Grimmett et al  .(1998). The avifauna of Hub Dam consists of resident, migratory and winterfowl species. Water bird census was undertaken in January and the data for the annual Waterbird Census were collected. For data collection in respect of bird diversity such as Spill way area, Main Hub dam area, Hub Canal, Shallow water area towards Khar Center, Usman Qalandria Goth, Roho Khaskheli Goth, Robo Goth, Rest House, Plantation Area and Bund Murad were selected. The researchers have used “line transect method” (Khan et al  ., 2012a) and recorded birds continually along a transect of predefined length. We recorded bird species and counted individuals of each species along either side of the transect upto 50 m. Double counting of birds was avoided and number of individuals of the bird species counted three times and an average was calculated and recorded during each survey.Following measure of abundance were calculated by using the following formulae; Relative abundance (RA %) RA = Number of individuals of a water bird species/total number of all water birds species x100 ANALYSIS The Hub Dam was found to harbor a significant number of water bird species. A total of 143 bird species belonging to 17 order and 46 families were recorded from Hub dam during present study. The most abundant family was found to be Accipitridae (14.6 %). Of the recorded species 78 were resident, 57 winter visitors, 04 summer breeding visitors, 02 summer visitors and 07 passage migrants. Waterbirds dominated the avifauna with 59 species, followed by 40 species of passerines, 22 birds of prey, 06 game birds and 16 miscellaneous species. The percentage of these categories of birds is given in (Fig. 2a&b). Fig.(2 a). Categories (percentage) of bird groups of Hub Dam.  Abeda Begum  et.al 24 Fig.(2 b). Categories (percentage) of bird species of Hub Dam   showing seasonal status. Status of the birds recorded Total species of birds recorded (Year 2007-12) =197 Total species of birds recorded in the present study =143 Total species of birds recorded previously (Year 2007-10) =160 New findings =10 The species of birds recorded during the previous studies but not recorded in present =27 Out of the total 197 species of birds recorded so far, 10 species were new findings and 27 species reported earlier (Khan et al  ., 2012a), were not recorded during the present study (Table 1& 2) Table (1). List of new recordeds of occurrence of birds during the present study. Order Family Scientific Name Common Name Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Egretta intermedia Median Egret Falconiformes Accipitridae Hieraaetus fasciatus Bonelli‟s Eagle  Apodiformes Apodidae  Apus apus Common Swift Coraciiformes Meropidae Merops orientalis Green Bee-eater Passeriformes Laniidae Lanius isabellinus Isabelline Shrike Passeriformes Sturnidae  Acridotheres tristis Common Myna Passeriformes Corvidae Dendrocitta vagabunda Indian Tree - pie Passeriformes Timaliidae Turdoides caudatus Common Babbler Passeriformes Motacillidae  Anthus similis Long billed Pipit Passeriformes Fringillidae Bucanetes githagineus Trumpeter Finch Table( 2). List of Birds recorded previously ( 2007-2010) Order Family Scientific Name Common Name Podicipediformes Podicipedidae Podiceps cristatus Great Crested grebe Ciconiiformes Threskiornithidae Plegadis falcinellus Glossy Ibis Ciconiiformes Phoenicopteridae Phoenicopterus ruber Great Flamingo  Anseriformes Anatidae  Anser anser Greylag Goose  Anseriformes Anatidae  Anas querquedula Garganey  Anseriformes Anatidae Netta rufina Red Crested Pochard  Anseriformes Anatidae  Aythya fuligula Tufted Duck Falconiformes Accipitridae Hieraaetus  pennatus Booted Hawk-Eagle Falconiformes Accipitridae  Aquila nipalensis Steppe Eagle Falconiformes Accipitridae Gyps fulvus Griffon Vulture Falconiformes Accipitridae Circus macrourus Pallid Harrier Falconiformes Accipitridae Circus pygargus Montagu‟s Harrier Falconiformes Falconidae Falco jugger Lagger Falcon Gruiformes Gruidae Grus grus Common Crane Charadriiformes Jacanidae Hydrophasianus chirurgus Pheasant Tailed Jacana Charadriiformes Charadriidae Charadrius leschenaultii Large Sand Plover Charadriiformes Charadriidae Charadrius mongolus Lesser Sand Plover Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Numenius  phaeopus Whimbrel Charadriiformes Rostratulidae Rostratula benghalensis Painted Snipe Columbiformes Pteroclididae Pterocles alchata Painted Sandgrouse Strigiformes Strigidae Bubo coromandus Dusky Eagle or Horned Owl Passeriformes Alaudidae Calandrella rufescens Lesser Short-Toed Lark Passeriformes Campephagidae Tephrodornis  pondicerianus Common Wood Shrike Passeriformes Turdidae Oenanthe picata Eastern Pied Wheatear Passeriformes Turdidae Oenanthe alboniger Hume‟s Wheatear Passeriformes Motacillidae Motacilla cinerea Grey Wagtail Passeriformes Estrildidae Lonchura malabarica White throated Munia RESULT AND DISCUSSION Most species of birds have suffered a drastic decline in the population during the last decade in South Asia and some have become very rare throughout their range. Ghalib et al.,(  2000) reported the occurrence of Critically Endangered White-backed Vulture ( Gyps bengalensis ) from Hub Dam but in previous work Khan et al.,(  2012a) and   during the study period, it was not observed. Khan et al  .(2012a) not found any evidence of occurrence of Marbled Teal ( Marmaronetta angustirostris ) from the area was obtained, even interviews with local people, especially hunters,   African Journal of Science and Research ,2013, 2(3): 22-26    25 revealed that Marbled Teal has not been visiting the area for the last so many years. Marbled Teals (23) were recorded only once during AWC in 1993 (Ghalib et al  ., 2000). Great Flamingo ( Phoenicoptrus ruber  ) was not recorded during present study while have seen in previous (Khan et al  ., 2012a). The reservoir has emerged as an important refuge mainly for migratory waterbirds which includes great Crested Grebe, Pelicans, Cormorants, Ducks, Coot, Large Egret, Waders, Gulls and Terns (Ghalib et al., 2000).  Abundantly these birds were recorded from the area except Common Cranes during the present study. Over 400 Common Cranes (Grus grus) were observed at the dam in March 1984 (Scott ,1989).Common and Demoiselle Cranes were usually observed during spring and autumn migration in the area called Kila near the dam in Balochistan provinces (Ghalib et al  ., 2000). During the present study, Demoiselle cranes were observed near the spill way area, shallow water and at main dam in the least percentage but Common Cranes were not observed at all. Threatened species recorded from Hub Dam and Black bellied Tern (NT), Lesser White fronted Goose (V), Marbled Teal (V), White backed Vulture (CE), Imperial Eagle (V), Pallas‟s Fishing Eagle (V), Dalmatian Pelican (V) and Egyptian Vulture (E). The threatened or rare species of birds including Black Stork, Ferruginous Duck, Red crested Pochard, Dalmatian Pelican, and Social Lapwing were recorded from the area (Ghalib et al  ., 2000). Sixteen Threatened and Near Threatened species of birds belonging to 12 families and sub-families and 8 orders were recorded at 50 different sites from December 2006 to January 2012 during studies conducted under Pakistan Wetlands Programme for baseline assessments and midwinter waterfowl census in Pakistan (Chaudhry et al  ., 2012). Black-bellied Tern Sterna ( acuticauda,Eurasian ), Curlew ( Numenius arquata ) and Oriental Darter (  Anhinga melanogaster  ) were recorded as Near Threatened from Hub Dam (Chaudhry et al  ., 2012). These species qualifying as globally Near Threatened because its population has declined due to pollution, drainage and hunting (BirdLife, 2012). Ferruginous Duck, White backed Vulture, Social Lapwing, Stone Curlew were recorded as threatened species from the area during present study. The most common birds at Hub Dam include Little Grebe, Large Cormorant, Grey Heron, Pond Heron, Large Egret, Little Egret, Pintail, Shoveller, Common Pochard, Black Kite, Marsh Harrier, Black Headed Gull, Little Tern, Ring Dove, House Swift and Indian Pied Kingfisher (Khan et al., 2012a). A passerine viz., Grey Hypocolius ( Hypocolius ampelinus ) has first ever been recorded from the area (Lindsey, 1991), also recorded by Ghalib et al  ., 2000 but not reported by Khan et al.,(  2012a) and during present study. Some Little Terns and Gull Billed Terns breed on the small islands situated in the Dam (Ghalib et al  ., 2000).Painted Snipe and Stone curlews breed in the seepage area and two black shouldered kites were observed breeding here about a decade ago (Rolf Passburg, Pers, Comm.). Observed some other birds also breed in the adjacent area whereas Painted Snipe and Stone curlews both were not recorded in present study. Total 59 waterbirds were recorded during the present study out of which the most abundant water bird species recorded at the dam were Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)  with the percentage of 9.70 %, Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) ; 8.68 %, Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger) ; 7.30 % and less counted bird was Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo)  with the percentage of 0.08%, Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna); 0.09 %, Black Tailed Godwit (Limosa Limosa); 0.13 % (Fig.3). Fig(3). Graph showing the counting of Water birds at Hub Dam It has been observed that the waterbirds are not only equally distributed all over the pond area. The main concentrations of waterbirds were found in the area adjacent to the spillway and in the north-east and north-west proximity of the reservoir (Ghalib et al  ., 2000) while during present study most of the waterbirds also observed on the main dam and at shallow water. 48,500 waterfowl were reported in January 1987, and over 53,500 in January, 1988 (Scott ,1989).Their total population during the years 1986-89 ranged between 46,000 to 53,000 but numbers declined drastically in 1990 (Ghalib et al  ., 2000). The total number of waterbirds recorded was 13,128 in 2000, 14431 in 2001, 8374 in 2002, 2476 in 2003, and 2638 in 2004. While in the year 2010 the total number of waterbirds was recorded as 3447 (Khan et al  ., 2012a). During 2011, 280 and in 2012, 1404 waterbirds were recorded. The population of the waterbirds has declined drastically during recent years as compared to earlier records mainly due to disturbances by local people, illegal hunting and excessive commercial fishing activities in the reservoir. Pollution (nitrogen, phosphorous, etc) and invasive alien spieces very rapidly had very high impact on wetlands over the last century across the world while overexploitation had a moderate impact which is continuing (MEA, 2005). Based on chemical examination, the water of reservoir was found to be safe but some agriculture lands near the margins could affect the water quality (Kahn et al  ., 2012a). Few social impacts like washing of clothes and grazing of cattle may affect and pollute the water but not to a great extent (Kahn et al  ., 2012a). There are a lot of disturbance to the birds because of local communities using the same area for the collection of drinking water. Competition for grazing between the domestic livestock on this area has been raised. As compared to earlier, during the present study,  Abeda Begum  et.al 26 observed a lot disturbance to the birds due to the presence of villages and movement of local people in study areas. However, the main threats to the birds and their habitats are: hunting and poaching, land reclamation for agriculture and housing, habitat degradation, poor drainage system and drought. CONCLUSION It is concluded that the area was rich in birds diversity and now it‟s drastically decrease. It is suggested that the management plan of the reservoir should be implemented in its true letter and spirit. Studies on the migration of water birds may be undertaken and ringing/ banding programmes may be started. The overall population of migratory water birds has been decreasing at Hub Dam due to the disturbance by local community which is being increased gradually, hunting and trapping. There is a serious decline has been observed during present study in water bird population but these are mainly due to social disturbances. Areas near spillway, main dam area, agriculture land/ shallow water, and Hub Canal are the prime habitats of birds in the wetland. Public awareness programmes may be taken up for the conservation and sustainable utilization of the natural resources and formulation of species recovery plan for threatened species of the area. References 1)Akbar, M., Hassan, M.M.U., Nisa, Z.U., Hassan M.M.U. and Hassan, M. (2009). Waterfowl diversity at Chashma barrage (wildlife sanctuary Mianwali) and Marala headworks (game reserve Sialkot) Pakistan during 1996  – 2005. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology., 11: 188  – 192. 2) Amjad,S. and Kidwai, S. (2003). Freshwater, Brackish water and Costal Wetlands of Sindh. National Institute of Oceanography Karachi pp 30. 3) BirdLife International (2012). IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org. 4) Chaudhry, M.J.I., Arshad, M. and Akbar, G. (2012). Some Observations on Threatened and Near Threatened avifauna of Pakistan.Rec. Zool. Surv. Pakistan.21:65-72. 5) Ghalib, S.A., Hasnain, S.A. and Khursheed, S.N. (2000). Observations on the Avifauna of Hub Dam. Pakistan Journal of Zoology.32(1): 27 - 32. 6) Ghalib, S. A., Khan, M. Z., Zehar, A. and Khan, A. R. (2004) Current population status of the birds of Balochistan, Pakistan.Journal of natural History Wildlife., 3: 51 - 62. 7) Grimmett, R., Inskipp, C. and Inskipp, T. (1998). Birds of the Indian subcontinent. Oxford University Press, Delhi. 890 pp. 8)http://www.pakistanpaedia.com/wildlife/birds/bird-watching-in_pakistan.html 9)IUCN. (1994). Guidelines for Protected Areas Management Categories. IUCN, Cambridge, UK and Gland, Switzerland. pp 261. 10) Khan, MZ. and Ghalib, SA. 2006. Birds Population and Threats to Some Selected Important Wetlands in Pakistan. J. Nat. Hist.Wildl. 5(2):209-215. 11) Khan, M.Z., Zehra, A., Ghalib, S.A., Siddiqui, S. and Hussain, B. (2010). Vertebrate Biodiversity and Key Mammalian Species Status of Hingol National Park. Canadian Journal of Pure and Applied Science. 4(2):1151-1162. 12) Khan, M.Z. and Siddiqui, S. (2011). Studies on bioecology and fauna of Hazarganji Chitan national park and development of ecotorism in protected areas. Canadian Journal of Pure and Applied Science.5(1):1371-1384. 13) Khan, M. Z., Begum, A., Ghalib. S. A, Khan. A. R., Yasmeen. R., Siddqui. T. F., Zehra. A., Abbas, D., Tabassum. F., Siddqui.S.,Jabeen. T. and Hussain. B. (2012a). Effects of Environmental Pollution on Aquatic Vertebrate Biodiversity and Inventories of Hub Dam: Ramsar Sites. 6 (2): 1913-1935. 14) Khan, M. Z., Abbas, D., Ghalib. S. A, Yasmeen. R., Siddqui. S., Mehmood, N., Zehra. A., Begum, A., Jabeen. T., Yasmeen. G.and Latif. T. A. (2012b). 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