NEW DELHI: The Indian Navy's plans to test fire missiles from Andaman and Nicobar Islands appear to have hit a hurdle with the environment ministry concerned over the impact of the exercise on an endangered bird species found only in the ecologically sensitive area. The environment ministry, examining the Navy proposal for missile testing in Tillanchang island, has been told by a panel of experts that the firing will impact the life cycle of Nicobar Megapode, an endangered ground bird, National Board for Wildlife member Asad Rahmani said. The Navy has sought permission for temporary use of the ecologically sensitive forest land on the island for missile testing and erection of a temporary structure as target for testing the accuracy of missiles fired from submarines. The test firing is proposed to be carried out once every year for a duration of 7 to 10 days. The Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) at a recent meeting chaired by environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan examined the proposal and ordered a site inspection by a two-member panel. Rahmani said Megapodes are found only in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and their population has declined dramatically in recent years. Studies have indicated that Megapodes come back to the same place for nesting. "The time and season of firing would be the critical elements in assessing the impact of such firing on the species," he said.