Flamingoes are pictured feeding off a beach north of Kuwait City on October 8, 2019. (AFP)
There are about 19 species of rare birds that are not found anywhere else in the world except in the Arabian Peninsula
RIYADH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture participated in the celebration of World Migratory Bird Day on Oct. 12. This year’s event, entitled “Protecting Birds: Be the Solution for Plastic Pollution,” coincides with the migration cycle of these birds. The event, which has been celebrated since 2006, includes awareness campaigns on bird protection, an introduction to migratory birds and their habitats and to the Kingdom’s regulations to preserve their seasonal routes.
The ministry said that this year’s event highlights the impact of plastic pollution and the environmental threats faced by birds, as well as the strengthening of international cooperation to protect them. Many international organizations and institutions are establishing programs and activities on this day, including training courses, awareness campaigns and visits to migratory birds’ sites.
It noted that 500 bird species are registered in the Kingdom: 277 species of migratory birds and 223 of nesting birds. There are about 19 species of rare birds that are not found anywhere else in the world except in the Arabian Peninsula, for example the Asir or Arabian magpie, which is one of the rarest birds in the world, with only 100 breeding pairs in Asir. The ministry is working on a national program to protect it from extinction.
The ministry said that the most prominent problems that birds face are the destruction of their breeding and feeding areas, poaching, and land and sea pollution with plastic, metal and other wastes. Plastic waste of is one of the most important risks that wild and sea birds are facing. It is one of the materials consumed by birds because of its similarity to grains of sand or fish eggs.
The Kingdom is one of the most important crossing points for migratory birds, from Asia and Europe to Africa. Millions of birds from 277 species cross Saudi Arabia, and of these, 31 species are on the red list of endangered birds. The Kingdom also plays an important role in maintaining the ecological balance of ecosystems located in their migration’s paths and their food stops during their migration roundtrips. This is an important environmental indicator ascertaining the good functioning of ecosystems around the world.
Birds are used as a fast, accurate and low-cost measure of environmental health. They also offer practical solutions to some problems, such as insect and rodent control, the disposal of dead animals, as well as providing great benefits in transporting seeds and pollen. Beautifully colored and chanting birds add happiness to our lives, and our Arab heritage is rich in describing their beauty.