Tuesday, May 17, 2022 | Shawwal 15, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Myna menace: Efforts on to reduce the number of invasive bird

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There has been a sharp increase in the number of myna birds in the Sultanate of Oman. The Environment Authority is making all possible efforts to combat the number of this invasive bird and finding solutions with the help of experts. Similar is the case with the Indian crows.


According to the Environment Authority, myna birds have spread in all governorates in varying numbers, especially in agricultural and residential areas. They were seen in large numbers, specifically in several wilayats of the Dhofar Governorate. They were monitored in the Wilayat of Salalah in farms, public gardens and parks with a presence of 80 per cent compared to the Wilayat of Taqa at 12 per cent, Mirbat and the rest of the regions at 8 per cent.


Sulaiman bin Nasser al Akhzami, Director General of Nature Conservation at the Environment Authority, stated serious efforts made by the Authority, in cooperation with various relevant bodies, to develop mechanisms to manage invasive alien species of birds in the Sultanate of Oman aiming at reducing its risks and negative impacts on local species and ecosystems. "This comes within the framework of the Environment Authority's endeavour to protect biodiversity, wildlife and various ecosystems'', he added.


Al Akhzami confirmed: "Because of the increasing numbers of the mynas and Indian crows, a working group was formed from various relevant parties to find the best ways to combat these species, and a survey was conducted to find out the behaviour of these birds and ways to control them."


A contract was signed with Susana Saavedra, one of the international experts in combating invasive birds, who said: "I contracted with the Environment Authority, which works to develop a strategy to deal with invading birds to protect ecological diversity, farms and people in general".


She visited Muscat and Salalah, where her team will start initial projects monitoring crows and myna birds. "I touched the readiness and cooperation of the country, whether the government or the people, to solve this problem."


The myna birds can adapt to different environments and feed on everything (plants, small reptiles, small mammals and even the corpses of dead organisms). It reproduces throughout the year, and the female lays 3-6 eggs per year. The two parents incubate the eggs for 17 days, and the young leave the nest after about 22 days.


Mynas can cause many environmental problems, as they spread rapidly and directly affect the ecological balance. They also pose a serious danger to fruit plantations (including grapes, apricots, apples, pears, strawberries and figs), corn, wheat and rice fields.


Mynas are highly reproductive, and their numbers can reach up to 160,000 birds. They compete with endemic birds for food and habitat, where habitat loss is one of the five factors threatening biodiversity. The World Environment Organization has classified those invasive birds among the three most damaging birds to the ecosystem.


In addition, myna birds destroy eggs and young birds inside the nests of local birds in the environment, which affects their future numbers, and thus directly affects the increase in the number of insects and agricultural pests.


They are found mainly in tropical and temperate regions from the tropics to southern Europe to northern France. The Indian subcontinent is considered its original home.


@zainabalnasseri


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