Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) is part of a global annual event where thousands of volunteers in Australasia and Asia calculate the total number of waterbirds in the wetlands of their home countries. Asian Waterbird Census event happens in the month of January every year and is coordinated by Wetlands International, a global not-for-profit organization.
Waterbirds refer to birds that depend on wetlands to thrive and survive. The status of the waterbirds speaks volumes about the health and quality of a region's wetlands. Asian Waterbird Census monitors the population of these waterbirds. Find more information about this census here.
What is the Asian Waterbird Census?
Asian Waterbird Census is a part of the International Waterbird Census, which works for the restoration and conservation of wetlands. The range of the AWC spans from the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to the Central Asian Flyway. The AWC coincides with the regional programs of IWC in Europe, Africa, West Asia, the Caribbean, and the Neotropics. Asian Waterbird Census was first held in 1987 in India.
In India, the Asian Waterbird Census is managed by the Wetlands International and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). BNHS is a pan-India wildlife research organization that aims to promote the conservation of nature and biological diversity.
Asian Waterbird Census
Works for the restoration and conservation of wetlands
Objective of the Asian Waterbird Census
- The primary objective of the Asian Waterbird Census event is to observe and monitor the status of waterbirds hovering around wetlands.
- Information about the waterbird population in the region's wetlands during non-breeding periods is gathered annually during the Asian Waterbird Census.
- It also involves the monitoring and evaluation of wetland conditions and status and sensitisation of citizens on the importance of waterbird conservation and wetlands.
Asian Waterbird Census 2023 - Details
Organized in Alappuzha by the Social Forestry wing of the Forest department and Birders Ezhupunna, the Asian Waterbird Census 2023 shared some incredible insights. Here are some of the details of the observations shared during the Asian Waterbird Census 2023:
- The population of migratory birds, such as ducks, is falling.
- Duck species like Common teal, Northern Shoveler and Eurasian wigeon were missing this year.
- Other species of birds, such as the Dalmatian Pelicans and Great White Pelicans, were missing this year from the sanctuary.
- The Asian Waterbird Census has stated that the reason for the missing birds is climate change.
Asian Waterbird Census - Significance
The Asian Waterbird Census plays a pivotal role in increasing people's awareness of birds and wetlands in Asia, and hence, it is significant. Here is more information about this census:
- The Asian Waterbird Census is coordinated by Wetlands International.
- It is a regional programme and runs in parallel with other programmes conducted by the International Waterbird Census in places such as West Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.
- Asian Waterbird Census is important because it gives us a realistic idea of the total population of waterbirds and the condition of wetlands in the world.
- It helps us to analyze the situation and assess the impact of climate change or other such factors that may be affecting the wetlands and the waterbirds.
55th Year of the Asian Waterbird Census
- The Asian Waterbird Census entered its 55th year in 2022. The event started in January 2022 and ended in February. The event played an instrumental role in disseminating information about the management and conservation of wetlands and waterbirds in Asia.
- Thousands of volunteers participated in surveys across strategic wetlands in India and Asia to determine the condition and status of wetlands in the continent. Although a comprehensive review of the findings is awaited, the available data paints a grim picture.
- For instance, surveyors found that in Delhi's Sanjay Lake, only 13 species of birds were spotted, as opposed to 17 species between 2019 and 2021.
- Since species diversity is showing a steady decline, it can be concluded that the lake's water quality and biodiversity is degrading. Also, the number of bar-headed geese, gadwall, and common teal has decreased substantially in Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The AWC thus shows an accurate picture of the grassroots reality of birds and wetlands.
FAQ on Asian Waterbird Census
Q.1) What is the Asian Waterbird Census?
The Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) is part of a global annual event where thousands of volunteers in Australasia and Asia calculate the total number of waterbirds in the wetlands of their home countries. Asian Waterbird Census was established in India in 1987.
Q.2) Who manages the Asian Waterbird Census?
In India, the Asian Waterbird Census is managed by the Wetlands International and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). Asian Waterbird Census is organized by Wetlands International, which is an international NGO with members from around the world.
Q.3) When was the Asian Waterbird Census first held?
The Asian Waterbird Census was first held in 1987 in India. Eventually, the census was held all over Asia. Asian Waterbird Census is concerned with calculating and monitoring the population of Asian waterbirds. In addition, it is also concerned with looking after the wetlands around the world.
Q.4) How many wetlands are surveyed in the Asian Waterbird Census?
In India, all the Ramsar Sites are surveyed in the Asian Waterbird Census. Ramsar Sites are protected wetlands that have ecological importance. In India, there are around 54 Ramsar Sites. During the Asian Waterbird Census, all the wetlands in the Ramsar Sites list are surveyed.