COX'S BAZAR: Migratory birds are now-a-days hardly seen in Cox's Bazar district due to hunting, heavy urbanisation, massive deforestation, occupation of water bodies and a lack of campaign against poachers, according to environmentalists.
Environmentalist HM Nazrul Islam said, "The chirping of natural aesthetic birds is now just a memory. Birds become extinct due to deforestation and violence of unscrupulous hunters. Hunting and deforestation are the main reasons for extinction of such birds."
Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, president of Cox's Bazar district branch of Bangladesh Environment Movement (BAPA), said, "The number of different birds is declining gradually mainly for deforestation, urbanisation, crisis of native fish and hunting."
He also called for drastic action against those who want to destroy the nature and forests.
Nazim Uddin, an assistant professor at Zoology Department of Cox's Bazar Government College, said, "The birds were migrating due to environmental imbalance. The main reasons are food crisis and encroachment of wildlife habitats."
AKM Ata Elahi, Sadar Range Officer at Cox's Bazar North Forest Department, said, "The birds are being killed by some unscrupulous people. Our team is taking stern action in this regard. We carry out drive against any unscrupulous person as soon as we get information about bird hunting, tree felling and hill cutting. If necessary, cases are also filed against culprits by forest department."
Cox's Bazar South Forest Department chief Sarwar Alam said, "Many birds used to live near Marine Drive Road. But hotels, motels and resorts have attracted a lot of tourists to Cox's Bazar and Rohingyas have caused a lot of deforestation. So, the number of birds is decreasing."
If anyone hunts and sells birds, he is being brought to justice and the court is punishing him if it finds evidence, he added.
Jahidul Islam, a resident of Hoanak Keruntali in Maheshkhali, said, "At one time, different species of birds were seen in the salt and fish projects. These birds also have special ability to control crop insects, but they are no longer seen".
In a recent drive in Ukhia, 116 birds were rescued alive from the trap of miscreants. Of these, 103 birds have been released later.
Once there were bird sanctuaries in remote areas of Cox's Bazar. During winter, different species of migratory birds used to flock to St Martin's Island and Bakankhali and Matamuhuri rivers.
A large number of birds were seen flocking to the coast to collect food. These birds are trapped in different places of the district. As a result, these birds which come to canals, beels, rivers and reservoirs in search of food are being killed by hunters.
Even five years ago, migratory birds were common in the canals, beels, rivers and forests during the winter season, but now those birds are in danger of extinction.