Officials of the Forest Department plan to improve facilities for tourists visiting the Atapaka Bird Sanctuary on the Kolleru Lake bund near Kaikalur in Krishna district.

“Compared to the previous years, the number of tourists visiting the sanctuary has increased. The number of migratory and roosting birds has also doubled. To attract more visitors, birdwatchers, and students for zoological/botanical tours, we wish to provide more facilities,” say the authorities.

They have submitted proposals for developing an Environment Education Centre at an estimated cost of Rs.40 lakh. A canteen and a guesthouse would also come up abutting the lake at Atapaka, Kaikalur Sub-Divisional Forest Officer Shaik Kaleelullah has said.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Kaleelullah said that the Pug Mark Consultancy, an expert in revamping/installing Environment Education Centres across the country, visited the sanctuary recently and reviewed the existing facilities.

Pedal boats

Atapaka Deputy Range Officer K.V. Ram Prasad said two pedal boats and an equal number of mechanised boats were being operated in the lake for visitors.

“One more mechanised boat is proposed to be introduced to meet the demand. A jetty will also be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs.1.50 lakh,” Mr. Prasad said.

“We have observed the presence of 2,500 pelican chicks this year on the mounds and stands arranged in the lake. Some painted storks and other rare species have also been sighted in the lake.

As the number of birds has increased in the sanctuary, we are taking up measures to maintain sufficient quantity of feed,” Kaikalur Forest Range Officer V. Ratna Kumar said.

Patrolling has been increased along the lake in the Krishna and West Godavari districts to prevent fishing and hunting of birds.

Instructions were given to the staff to arrange photographs of the winged visitors with their biography and food habits at the centre to attract students, said Mr. Kaleelullah.

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