Data on winged visitors’ population to be collected

With the objective of conserving birds and important bird habitats in the three southern districts and compiling comprehensive data on the winged visitors’ population in this region, the Department of Forest has planned to organise sustained monitoring of these places.

According to Rakesh Kumar Dogra, Conservator of Forest, Tirunelveli, the Tirunelveli Circle, comprising Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts, is replete with important bird habitats, where a number of resident and migratory bird species are found. Many of these habitats are outside the protected forest areas, and in some social forestry planted tanks.

Monitoring these wetlands and important bird habitats, especially during the migration months of winter, is an important activity, which the forest divisions must undertake for preparing comprehensive data on birds.

It is imperative that institutional arrangements are created for this monitoring with the help of volunteers, amateur birdwatchers, students, nature club members and field staff.

This kind of monitoring also upgrades the capacity of the field staff in monitoring water birds and strengthens the mechanism to protect them from the threat of poaching and other dangers.

Besides, it creates an awareness about conservation of wetland habitats and the avi-fauna. It also provides a platform, where the forest department officials at the grass-roots level can work jointly with nature lovers, amateur birdwatchers, NGOs and the professionals.

Consequent to the field inspection conducted recently, the following bird habitats and tanks are selected initially for monitoring water birds: Suchindram, Theroor, Uppalam, Manakudy estuary and Rajakkamangalam tanks (all in Kanyakumari district); Rajavallipuram, Vagaikulam, Pirancheri, Koonthankulam, Nainarkulam, Thirupudaimarudhur, Paruthivaikulam, Saralkulam and North Vijayanarayanam tanks (Tirunelveli); North Canal, Perunkulam, Veppalodai-Vembar, Karungulam and Kadambakulam tanks (Tuticorin).

The core group, to be formed as part of this exercise, will be responsible for the overall management of monitoring, organising sensitisation and training programmes and also processing the data. Monitoring will be carried out on the fourth Sunday of every month from November 2013 till April, 2014.

Sensitisation and capacity building programme will be launched in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts on Saturday (November 23), followed by the first such monitoring the next day. At least two Forest Department employees will be identified for each tank by the Core Group, which will also be provided training along with the volunteers for this monitoring.

On completion of the monitoring exercise, a detailed report will be submitted to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and the Chief Wildlife Warden on the status of important birds and habitats in Tirunelveli Circle.

Mr.Rakesh said the contact persons were Kanchana, Assistant Conservator of Forest, headquarters (94454 68560 or acfhqtnv@gmail.com) or Kandasamy, Office of District Forest Officer, Tirunelveli (94437 92394).

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