The lockout keeps predators in the bay as flocks of migratory birds in Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan Migratory birds are turning to the marshes of Pakistan's southern province of Sindh this year, and authorities and observers are contributing to the rise of coronavirus lockdown measures that keep birds and bird catchers away.

With more than 185,000 cases and 3,696 deaths related to the virus, Pakistan lifted a nationwide lockdown last month.

A survey conducted this year found 741,042 migratory birds in the Sindh province - a jump from 248,105 birds counted in 2019, said Javed Ahmed Maher, provincial conservator of the Sindh Wildlife Department.

Each year, 40 percent of Sindh's wetlands are surveyed to gain insight into migratory patterns and the number of birds.

Migratory birds, among them pelicans, mallards, cranes, and waiters, stop in Pakistan on their way to and from Siberia.

Famous Pakistani wildlife photographer Ahmer Ali Rizvi said coronavirus actions helped the birds settle down.

"There have been birds for a long time this year. Due to the lockout, there may be disturbances to humans everywhere," he said.

Maher said Sindh authorities have not recorded any wildlife-related crimes such as hunting and illegal trading in the province since the lockout was implemented.

Hunting is a problem in the region, with many rare species threatened, including the Hubara bastard.

He said illegal trade was not prevalent in the domestic markets.

There are over 33 wildlife sanctuaries and one national park in Sindh, with more than 300 bird species.

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