Accra (Greater Accra), 30th April ?99 ?
The Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) on Wednesday called on Ghanaians to help conserve birds since they have been observed to be excellent indicators of the state of the environment.
"Birds provide vital signs of the health of any environment by either remaining or migrating to other lands," Mr Erasmus Owusu, a senior official of GWS said.
Mr Owusu, who is the programmes manager of GWS's "Important Bird Area (IBA) Project", was speaking on "The Community and Bird Conservation" at a day's seminar for media practitioners in Accra.
He said studies have proved that birds have been better researched than any group of animals or plants.
"They promote awareness of the need for conservation, because if the bio-diversity of any area is over-exploited, the birds either migrate or become extinct.
"The presence of the birds over water also helps fishermen to locate fish shoals." Mr Owusu said Ghana, as well as nine other African countries, has been selected for the IBA project to compile and publish a directory of "sites that are critical for birds in Africa".
"In considering these sites, priority is given to areas with species that are at the most immediate risk of extinction."
The GWS started the implementation of the IBA project in July 1994 and by the end of 1997, 60 forest reserves had been surveyed, 40 of which qualify as international area of importance for birds.
He said so far 724 bird species have been identified in the country, and it is believed that more would be identified if the right atmosphere is created for birds.