Asian Waterbird Census
The Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) is an international programme that focuses on monitoring the status of waterbirds and wetlands. It also aims to increase public awareness on issues related to wetland and waterbird conservation. The census is carried out each January as a voluntary activity at national and local level.
The AWC is co-coordinated by Wetlands International- as part of global programme, the "International Waterbird Census".
The census has three major objectives:
1. To obtain information on an annual basis of waterbird populations at wetlands in the region during the non-breeding period of most species (January), as a basis for evaluation of sites and monitoring of populations
2. To monitor on an annual basis the status and condition of wetlands
3. To encourage greater interest in waterbirds and wetlands amongst people, and thereby promote the conservation of wetlands and waterbirds in the region.
The data collected for the AWC is being used to provide information on wetlands and waterbirds and to encourage local or national conservation measures for important wetlands. The primary role of Wetlands International in coordinating the census is to raise awareness on the importance of waterbirds and wetlands at international level and for this it collates information at regional level. The census is primarily carried out by volunteers from all walks of life: university and school staff and students, nature club members, amateur and professional ornithologists, government and non-governmental agencies and others. Sites covered include rivers, lakes, reservoirs, tanks, swamps, coastal sites, mangrove and mudflats, reefs, sandy beaches, etc. All species of waterbirds associated with wetlands are entered onto standardized count forms.
In India, the AWC is annually coordinated by the Bombay Natural history Society (BNHS) and Wetlands International.
BNHS is a non government Organisation (NGO) founded in the year 1883. It engages itself in the conservation of nature and natural resources and also in the research and conservation of endangered species. Its mission is to conserve nature, primarily biological diversity through action based on research, education and public awareness.