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Umiam wetland home to 155 waterbird species, says census

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, Feb 5: In a survey conducted on February 2, being the ‘World Wetlands Day,’ the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) revealed the presence of 155 water birds spanning across 13 distinct species within the Umiam wetland.
In 2023, a total of 193 Asian waterbirds of 12 various species were found in six wetlands of the state during the Asian Waterbird census 2023.
Led by the Forest and Environment department in collaboration with the Khasi Hills Wildlife Division Shillong and the Meghalaya Biodiversity Board, the census covered various wetland locations surrounding Umiam Lake. Notable areas surveyed included Umsaw, Umbir, Umniuh, Mawlyndep, and Umiam.
A team of participants spearheaded the census effort, including H Lato, IFS, DFO Social Forestry Division, and M Kharsyntiew, MFS, Assistant Conservator of Forests. The survey also benefited from the expertise of specialists from organizations such as Aaranyak, Dipankar Lahkar, and Pranjal Deka. Representing the Meghalaya Biodiversity Board were E Khongwir and S Dey.
The Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) forms part of the larger International Waterbird Census (IWC), a citizen-science initiative aimed at conserving and managing wetlands and water bird populations globally. Held annually between January and February, the AWC engages volunteers across Asia and Australasia to conduct bird counts in their respective wetland habitats.
An official statement said the census was carried out to also commemorate World Wetland Day to protect and preserve the pristine wetlands, which acts as a habitat for avian life every year during their migration period.
“Through the exercise it has been observed that the Umiam wetland acts as an important habitat for avian life,” the statement further stated.

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