Bombay Natural History Society

THT Action Grant 2022

Project Name:

"Guardians of the Skimmer" - Conserving riverine birds through community participation

Project Brief:

The Indian Skimmer and Black-bellied Tern are now solely found in India, Bangladesh and in smaller numbers, in Pakistan and Nepal. India is home to over 90% of these species’ breeding population, and is the only hope to prevent them from extinction.

Globally endangered, the Indian Skimmer (present population 2000-2500) and Black-bellied Tern (present population < 1500) breed on river sandbars. River Chambal hosts the largest known breeding population of these species. A major threat to this population is low nesting success and recruitment rate.

Active since 1883, the Bombay Natural History Society plans to train community members and stakeholders on direct protection of these birds’ nests, from predatory activity and trampling. They also aim to manage their habitats for higher nesting rates. BNHS will develop an evidence-based conservation model to stabilise these birds’ population. This model will be applicable at other river nesting areas too.

Project objectives:
  • Nesting sandbars are safeguarded from predators such as dogs and jackals, from trampling and human disturbance, by nest guardians
  • Nesting sandbars are kept them isolated from the bank
  • Nest survival monitoring programme has been planned and implemented
  • Stakeholder engagement for capacity building, awareness and sensitisation.
Highlights from field:
  • This project is ongoing.