Constant vigil being maintained to check poaching

Tourists thronging Kanyakumari district and farmers are happy to see White Ibis building nests in groups in the middle of Suchindrum lake. Mid-January is the breeding season for migratory birds in the district.

The lake is situated on the outskirts of the town on Thiruvananthapuram-Kanyakumari National Highway (NH 47). The din and bustle of heavy traffic on the highway notwithstanding, more than 50 nests are found on treetops in the lake.

Robert Grubh, a noted ornithologist from Kanyakumari district, told The Hindu that for the first time these birds had come here for building nests. Farmers had been educated about the need to protect these birds as they were ‘friends of farmers.’ The Forest Department should create many manmade islands in Suchindrum and other large waterbodies in the district to facilitate breeding of these birds.

“Since the neighbouring Tirunelveli district is experiencing drought-like condition for the last couple of years, these birds would have preferred waterbodies in Kanyakumari for nesting as water was available perennially in almost all ponds and lakes here,” said environmental educator S. S. Davidson.

“The Black-Headed Ibis or Oriental White Ibis is a part of the Ibis family, which breeds in the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia. It builds its nest with sticks on a tree and lays two to four eggs. The species is seen in marshy wetlands, rich in feed including fish, frogs and other water creatures and insects. It walks actively on marshy land probing the soft mud with its bill and often feeds in shallow water with its head shortly submerged,” said Mr. Davidson. Wildlife expert Anand Prasad said that along with the Ibis, Cormorants had built nests on adjoining trees and some pelicans were seen roosting in the island trees.

The Suchindrum-Theroor wetland complex and Manakudy Estuary have been declared bird reserves by the State Government considering the rich bio-diversity in these waterbodies.

According to the Forest Department officials, a constant vigil is being maintained to check poaching and ensure that there was no disturbance to the habitat of these birds.