by Nick Upton
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Large numbers of dead birds at Muang Boran Fishponds
Whilst Muang Boran Fishponds, in Samut Prakarn province, remains a good place to see a wide range of waterbirds and open-country species it was quite shocking to see fairly large numbers of birds dead, either in nets or on the end of a hook, on the morning of 8th March 2008.

Nets were not being widely used, but at a few places they were being used to protect fish stocks from feeding birds and in other places they were more randomly stretched across ponds. The corpses of 3 Black Drongos, 1 White-browed Crake and 2 Pond Herons, 1 Greater painted Snipe and a large number of smaller and badly decomposed birds were noted in nets at the site.

Far more widespread, however, at this site, are the hooks which are suspended from long strings, stretching across many ponds. In the past this practcie was restricted to just a few ponds, but now this rather nasty threat to birds seems to have spread to almost every part of Muang Boran fishponds and there must be thousands of these deadly hooks waiting to catch birds unaware. From casual observations on the 8th March, it appears that Yellow and Cinnamon Biterns are particularly prone to capture in this method with corpses of these two species being notably more abundant than any other species, although a number of drongos and mynas also seem to fall foul of this obstacle.

Although artificially high numbers of birds are probably present because of the abundant food supply of fish, it is upsetting to see so many bird corpses at this site.

Bird-catching Hook
(Photo by Nick Upton)

It is difficult to see a solution to this problem as the people in this area depend on the fish for their income and they obviously see the birds as a major threat to this. In some other countries, landowners can get compensation for losses resulting from wildlife, but in Thailand this sort of philosophy is many decades away.

Any other birdwatchers visiting Muang Boran Fishponds would do well to note numbers of dead birds, noting species where possible and forward it for publication here and to the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand and they can decide to take action, if any.

Furthermore, there continues to be low level hunting of birds at this site - in a 5 hour visit one gunshot was heard - although this would appear to be much less of a problem than the hazard of hooks and nets.

Cinnamon Bittern

Painted Snipe


Yellow Bittern?
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Related Pages: Abuse of Wildlife for Tourists , Birds for sale at Chatuchak, Bird Persecution , Massive Increase in Bird Trapping at Chiang Saen , Birds Dying and Dead at Muang Boran Fishponds

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