e-ISSN : 2347-2677, p-ISSN : 2394-0522
Abdel Fattah N Abd Rabou
The coastal Gaza Strip, which has an area of 365 km2; equivalent to about 1.5% of the area of Palestine (27,000 km2), is home to a relatively large diversity of bird species, including the invasive Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis Linnaeus, 1766). The present study aims to address the occurrence, risks and some other ecological aspects of the Indian Myna in the Gaza Strip. This 10-year descriptive and cumulative study from 2013 to 2022 was based on field visits, direct observations, frequent meetings and discussions with stakeholders, follow-up of news and social media, as well as photography for documentary and confirmatory purposes. The results of the current study showed that the emergence of Indian Myna in the Gaza Strip began in 2006, and after 2008, its numbers increased remarkably and significantly. The bird arose in Palestine as a result of cage escapees from zoos or deliberate releases. Indian Mynas are usually abundant throughout the year in urban areas and the outskirts of the Gaza Strip, where feeding sites are available. The main habitats of Indian Minas include urban parks, gardens, agricultural orchards, and other similar environments. Potential local risks of the Indian Myna included its threats to local biodiversity, damage to domestic life and agricultural crops, as well as potential disturbance, noise and disease transmission to Gazans. Nets and sticks coated with glue were the main methods used by Gazans to capture Indian Mynas. The Indian Myna is locally sold at cheap prices of 2-3 USD per pair. A few Gazans claimed to eat the bird. It appears that the Indian Myna poses little threat in the Gaza Strip, and therefore there are no clear methods adopted by the responsible authorities to control the bird. Finally, the study recommends appropriate management strategies to stop or reduce the spread of non-native biota in the Gaza Strip when their numbers increase alarmingly and their risks increase to an intolerable extent.
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