Migration of Hope and Despair -Ifrith Islam
Nothing is static in this world. Everything is changing — be it air and water or humans, animals and birds. Some are transforming within themselves while others are changing their locations. The word ‘migration’ usually applies to the later groups who change geographical locations, such as humans, birds and animals. The history of migration began as soon as human was created. Now the question is ‘Why do humans, birds and animals migrate?’ The answer is easy – for food, comfort and other amenities. Moreover, finding a safe place to protect themselves from natural disasters and wild animals encouraged to migrate. In-migration and out-migration are used for internal migration meaning inside the national territory while crossing the boundary is identified as international migration.
Humans, like animals, breed, grow up, travel thousands of miles searching for job, shelter, asylum or food. They also need a peaceful living place. Birds and animals are the source of entertainment for the residents of the urban people. Sometimes these migratory animals threaten human society or vice versa. However, this can be controlled by taking proper action. Steps should be taken to increase the arrival of migratory animals and to protect from extinction. Otherwise, we, including you, have no place to be entertained naturally!
There are several broad categories in which migration fall into.
First, internal and international migrations are distinguished. The internal migration is defined as moving within a state, country, or continent. The movement of individuals and families from one area to another or from rural areas to the cities, and the emigrating from one country to another within any country are to name a few of them. During the 20th century migration from rural to urban areas took place in large scale. As a consequence, particularly in developing countries, the urban growth since World War II has been very rapid.
The external migration is defined as moving to a different state, country, or continent which is not so different from the internal migration. And there is international migration — leaving one country for another.
Secondly, migration takes place due to voluntary or being forced. Most voluntary human migrations, whether internal or external, happen because of better economic opportunities or housing. Forced migrations usually occur in countries where the opposition parties are oppressed. War forces and political upheavals inflict forcible deportation sometimes as slaves or prisoners. Refugees fleeing from war, famine, or natural disasters have been rendered migrants.
Within recorded history, the human migrations have transformed the entire aspect of lands and continents and the racial, ethnic, and linguistic composition of their populations. Several major early migrations resulted in the formation of European nations like Germans, the Slavs, and the Turks.
In a span of 400 years, the European migrants colonized the Americas, Australia, Oceania, the northern half of Asia, and parts of Africa from the late 16th through the 20th century. The overseas migration of Europeans during this period totaled about 60 million people.
Great Atlantic Migration is the largest migration in history from Europe to North America. Its first major wave of the largest migration began in the 1840s with mass exodus from Ireland and Germany. And in the 1880s, the second wave developed from eastern and southern Europe. From 1801 to 1914, about 7.5 million migrants moved from Europe to Asiatic Russia.
Immigration marked the Muslim community since its beginning. Therefore, the last Prophet (PBUH) himself migrated from Makkah to Madinah and many companions of had travelled all over the world. That’s why many graves of the companions of Prophet (PBUH) in many parts of the world. For example, Ayub Al-ansari (RA) was buried in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Ottomans were leading warriors who fought against the Byzantine, in their initial stages of expansion. The founder of the dynasty — the ancestor of Osman I — was the member of the Kay? tribe who had entered Anatolia along with a group of O?uz Turk. Some nomads, migrating from Central Asia, established as the Seljuq dynasty in Iran.
With the conquest of Constantinople the Ottomans became ruler of a new era. Jewish populations in Anatolia were widespread and after the establishment of Ottoman Empire – it became a safe haven for Iberian Jews fleeing Christian persecution, and in its heyday, the city of Thessaloniki flooded with Jewish majority.
Animals also migrate from one place to another, like the humans, and this migration is more rapid than the humans. Some animals like wild beast and Sooty Shearwater traveled the world from their birth to death, thousands of miles every year. This traveling may across the boundary or not, they dare about this, but is the only way to keep them alive in the world. Human migrates once, twice or more, but animals, like Pacific salmon, pass their life through migrations. Some specifies of Pacific salmon born in freshwater streams, travel to ocean waters and then return to the stream where they were born to breed before dying.
Almost all animals migrate from one place to another for searching foods but some of them traveled long distances. Wild beasts, elephants, reindeer, zebra, and caribou are some animals that traveled regularly. Fishes like various species of shark and whale, dolphins, and sea turtles traveled hundreds of miles every year. Birds, mostly known as migratory birds, are large among the migrants. About thousand types of birds travel the world every year; various types of goose like great crested grebe, widgeon, egret, large egret, heron, night heron, snipe etc. as well as fruit bat, nightingale, humming bird, cockatoo are mentionable.
Reasons of Animal Migration
Some reasons lied behind the migration. Animals that live in habitats that are difficult to survive in year round, must evolve a way to cope with the difficult time of year. A common strategy is hibernation, used by many mammals and other species. Snakes, white bear and some animals in the winter season follow this technique. Others follow the rest option, migration, and move across long distances. They survive by leaving the area for part of the year, sometimes even part of their life, and move to habitats that are more hospitable.
Taking the advantages of food, shelter and water that vary with seasons, or life stage is the most common reason to migrate. The availability of food and water can change throughout the year. For instance, when winter suddenly halts the supply of insects, birds that insects must head for warmer climates where food is still bountiful. Similarly, when the cold settles in, small rodents and birds that are prey for predatory birds become scarce, so the North American red tailed hawk flies Mexico or the Gulf coast to find a more abundant food source. Sometimes, deep snow may make animals easier to catch preys. So in search of a new place full of food becomes essential.
Plant-eating mammals like buffalo and antelope; typically graze in herds, which can deplete the grass in an area. These animals, instead of waiting for grass to grow after grazing, go a short distance to find new grass, circling back to the original area when grass is abundant again. But in winter, grass does not grow quickly, so the herds move back to the areas where they find vast swathe of grasses. During the climatic changes like drought, water holes draw both the predators and prey, making these areas both overcrowded and dangerous. In Africa, wild beasts, zebra, and other animals of prey therefore migrate to areas where water is in plenty.
Bear the young in places relatively safe from predators and rich in resources, a more important reason of migration, also encourage the animals. For instance, some right whales leave their Antarctic feeding grounds where their primary food resource is plentiful. They travel to the relatively barren shores to bear their young.
Green turtle, another reproductive migrant, swim from their feeding grounds off the coast of Brazil during the time of laying eggs. After a long swim of about 2000 km they haul themselves onto sandy beaches, scrape out shallow nests, and deposit their eggs. Like the green turtles, freshwater eels trace ancient migratory patterns, swimming from each side of the Atlantic to the weedy Sargasso Sea and return after breeding.
Navigation of Migration
It is quite a surprising matter about finding the same route while migration. The mystery of animal migration remains one of the most compelling in science. Much work has been done on orientation and navigation in migrating animals, although the subject is still not well understood. Studies of salmon indicate that they depend on the olfactory sense to locate and return to their stream of origin. Herbivorous mammals often follow well established trails and probably also use their sense of smell. Bats, whales, and seals use echolocation to navigate in the dark or underwater.
In shorter migration, animals do not need complicated navigation abilities. They can simply follow the food or the water, or head downhill to the valleys in winter and back up toward the ridges in summer. In longer migration, according to the scientists, animals use senses and sun, stars and geographic features. For instance, Starlings orient themselves using the sun, compensating for how the sun moves across the sky throughout the day. Mallard ducks can find north using the stars of the night sky. On the other hand, loggerhead turtles have the ability to sense the direction and strength of Earth’s magnetic field, which they use for navigating along the turtles’ regular migration route.
Animals can also use mental maps like human beings. They just become familiar with an area and navigate using mountain ranges, coastlines, rivers and even, like dolphins, the shape of the sea floor. Smell is also a powerful tool for navigation. Salmon uses smell to find the exact stream that they were born.
Migratory birds are believed to use the stars, sun and other geographic features as guides. Night migrating birds are sometimes disoriented in prolonged heavy fog. Day-flying birds navigate by the sun and also make some use of geographic features, particularly of shorelines. Most migratory birds travel within broad north-south air routes known as flyways. Some migratory birds in winter fly only a few hundred miles from their breeding grounds, while other migrate between the cold or temperate zones of the two hemispheres. The longest journey is made by the arctic tern, a small bird that flies from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back again each year.
Hazards of Migration
Not every human, animals or birds can reach their destinations or return to their own land. Many die, some lose the track and some never return. For example, migrants from war-ravaged countries like Syria, Libya and some African countries are dying drowning in the Mediterranean Sea regularly. Similarly other animals are dying while migrating. Sea turtles never see their children. The animals face two types of hazards during the time of migration – natural and human made. Natural hazards include climatic changes, drought, food scarcity, predators and the individual physical demands of migration on the animal. Sometimes, the animal’s migratory behavior poses a considerable hazard as well. In southern Africa, for instance, springbok migrate in herds so dense that death from trampling, starvation, or drowning is not uncommon. Other animals caught in the springboks’ migration path suffer as well, often being swept along or trampled by the tide of rushing bodies.
Sometimes humans pose particular dangers to migrating animals. For instance, the caribou of Arctic regions are hunted by Inuit who intercept them along seasonal migration routes. Sport hunters acquaint themselves with migration routes as well.
When around one crore migrant Bangladeshis from 61 countries are sending their hard-earned money back home as many as five lakh Indians are migrating to the country to earn their livelihood. Bangladesh stands fifth as the source of foreign currencies for Indians. These five lakh Indians send fifth largest amount of foreign currencies to their country.
Along with foreigners every year migratory birds throng some parts of Bangladesh. Jahangirnagar University, Hakaluki Hoar and Hyle Haor, Tangoar Beels, Nijhum Dwip, Chittagong Hill tracks, Mirpur Zoo, Mirpur Ceramic Lake, Netrokona Haor and many small as well as large lakes are some of the get together place of migratory birds. Most of the birds come from the mountainous northern parts of the subcontinent namely Himalayas and beyond. Some species come from different parts of Europe and as Far East as Siberia.
Thousands of ducks visit every year along with the native birds. Lesser Whistling Teal (ChhotaSarali), Greater Whistling Teal (Bara Sarali), Cotton Pigmy Goose (Balihansh), Pochard (Bhutihansh), Darters (Snake Bird), Pintail Duck, Gurganietc are some of the birds.
However, the number of migratory birds in Bangladesh is decreasing every year due to the scarcity of wetlands and poaching. As the population is increasing and forests and wetlands are decreasing, we are losing the beauty of nature. The poachers who trap and sell migratory birds also causes threaten to the ‘guests’.
We don’t know whether migratory animals or birds add anything to their quality of leadership but migratory nature of human add a great quality of leadership. They get necessary exposure for leadership. As Bangladesh sends manpower to as many as 61 countries they can earn as well as turn into leader if the migrants know the languages of countries where they migrate to, have advanced technological knowledge in English and be holistically good-natured to do good to the sons of the soil.