It is at this time that the cold is beginning to set into the regions further north -the lands of Russia, Mongolia, and China – and thousands of birds who migrate move toward warmer Nepal. While he admits that it is a joy to see these birds is uplifting, Katwal adds he feels sad because many of the birds will never return to their home.
“Every time we go to the field in winter
we encounter eateries selling ‘delicacies’ made of meat from farm birds,” the farmer states. Are Bats Birds “They are sold as bagged meat” which is also known as yellow-breasted bunting ( Emberiza aureola). The menus that are displayed are especially depressing, according to Katwal who has carefully been watching both national and international efforts to save the species, which is on the brink of extinction.
Once widespread across all of the Northern Hemisphere, the yellow-breasted bunting is an uncommon sight in the countries of its range and also along its migratory routes including Nepal. Up until 2004, the bird was classified as a species with the lowest concern in the IUCN Red List. Eight years later, however, the bird’s conservation status deteriorated to threatened and is now being regarded as critically endangered.
Many studies indicate that their range and population
are rapidly declining. Based on BirdLife International, the species’ population is believed to have dropped by 84.3-94.7 percent between years 1980 between 1980 and 2013. BirdLife is of the opinion that, although the decline might have started slow, however, it could have been accelerated in the last couple of years.
According to conservationists, the bird faces its main existential challenge in range of countries such as China, where it’s hunted in huge numbers at numerous festivals for the meat it eats. It is believed that the Chinese government banned the killing of the bird in 1997 However, conservationists insist that they believe that illegal hunting is still taking place.
“The birds, which are already threatened
in their range areas, face added threats in migratory routes in countries such as Nepal,” states Ishana Thapa, the CEO of Bird Conservation Nepal, a partner of BirdLife International.
The appeal of the meat of the bunting is based on a myth that it warms your body during the winter months and contains aphrodisiac qualities. It’s also believed to be better tasting than chicken. “It has become so popular that eateries are buying the meat of any other bird that resembles the bunting in size,” Katwal adds.
He has spoken to seasonally-based
hunters that know how to look for the birds and then trap them. Crested Birds“They spend the entire winter trapping and killing these birds and selling them for meat,” Katwal adds.
A survey he conducted of 55 restaurants in Madhesh province showed that, on average, 160-180 bags of bagged were served by every restaurant every day, though none of them would be buntings with yellow-breasted wings. “This means that about 15,000-130,000 birds have to be killed each winter to satisfy the demand for meat every year. We also discovered that between $65,000-$73,000 were exchanged in this process,” Katwal says. There could be thousands of restaurants all over Nepal offering based meat.