Forest officials ask fishpond owners not to release contaminated water into it

Officials of the Forest Department have appealed to owners of aquaculture ponds not to release contaminated water into the Kolleru Lake, which also houses a bird sanctuary, as it will pose a serious threat to the existing fish species and birds. The authorities are keeping a strict vigil at strategic locations surrounding the Atapaka Bird Sanctuary to put an end to the harmful practice. Coinciding with the Wildlife Week being observed from October 2-8, teams of forest officials, irrespective of cadre, have set themselves a target of convincing the local communities to join them in the conservation of the lake.

“Aquaculture farmers are promising to find alternative ways of releasing water contaminated with pesticides and fertilizers instead of letting it into the sanctuary portion,” in-charge DFO (Wildlife Management) S.K. Khalillullah Khan told The Hindu.

Officials also launched a campaign to explain the fallout of such an activity on the ecological balance of the lake in areas such as Kolletikota, Gudivaka Lanka, Agadala Lanka, Nidamarru, Pulaparru, Kalakollu, Pedapadu, Madhavapuram, and Akiveedu in West Godavari district.

“We are appealing to the local communities to join us in conservation of India’s largest freshwater lake by minimising the usage of pesticides,” Mr. Khalillullah added. The local communities were asked to give up two activities — conducting auction for the fish in the lake and diversion of lake water into fishponds.

Exhibition

Photographs of as many as 50 birds that can be sighted in the Atapaka Bird Sanctuary have been displayed on a flex banner on Thursday.

Sanctuary officials say the exhibition will help visitors and local people realise the need for protection of the birds, including numerous migratory species.

Eluru Range Wildlife Chief Conservator of Forests S.S. Sridhar and his staff released the one-week Wildlife Week celebration schedule by involving students, farmers, fishermen, and people from all walks of life.

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